The Novel's Villain - Chapter 70
18. Death and Resurrection (1)
Gallock’s eyes nearly jumped out of his head as he watched the situation on the black sandhill. The worms were disappearing, the worms that were the best workers who toiled silently under the Emperor’s magnificent authority. They worked without rest, day in and day out. Surrounded by golden flames, their bodies and souls ascending to heaven was the image he had longed for.
As Gallock nodded, everyone looked at each other with warm eyes. The Emperor came directly to them on his own. The emotion in their eyes was indescribable. It was indeed strange to be accompanied by humans.
The Emperor had conquered even the dimension beyond the dark soil, just like he conquered the Elves! They were his slaves. It must have been because it looked like they were escorting the Emperor.
“Let’s go too!”
The orcs began to move at Gallock’s call.
Their charge was slowed by the black sand that caused their feet to sink in. It required a lot of energy to slog through. Even Choi Hee-yeon, who had learned the energy control of the Choi Family’s Sword School, showed signs of exhaustion. Furthermore, the Semi-Knights and magic-typed Knights were almost half-dead. On top of that, the earthworms continued to flock to them.
The Knights were on the verge of a mental breakdown. Each time Jin-woo stepped forward and removed the next wave, the Knights had no choice but to be surprised at his level. Especially Tang Xiao Zhen. She barely cut through a single worm’s body with her sword, so the thought of burning through them all at once like that was beyond her.
‘That’s what my grandfather said…the Heart Sword….’
Heart Sword. It was a state that only a few Knights could reach. The Ambassador described it as the flame of one’s heart. It could cut down all beings, but it required a maddeningly high degree of mental discipline as the enemy had to be cut by revealing one’s heart.
The man in front of her had a heart that was a brilliant golden color. It was a light that could embrace everything.
It was purely thanks to Jin-woo that the Knights were holding on. The earthworms avoided them entirely and rushed only to Jin-woo. As a result, the Knights looked at it as if the worms were ambushing and then attacking. Very tenaciously and fatally.
They were exhausted by the mire they found themselves in.
The Knights spent considerable energy dealing with worms. The same was true of Choi Hee-yeon and Tang Xiao Zhen. When their bodies grazed against the swarming worms, their mana became cloudy, and their bodies grew heavy like they were being poisoned.
Eventually, a significant number of Knights gave up their mission and turned back to the barracks. Tang Xiao Zhen’s expression became serious.
“Somehow…something is going wrong.”
“I think so.”
Tang Xiao Zhen said so. Choi Hee-yeon nodded along.
How did the worms know their location? They thought they could play the role of bait if they moved fast and lured them, but that plan was blocked even before it could even be attempted. Tang Xiao Zhen picked up a part of the earthworm’s body that had fallen to the ground. Her mana was being pulled in just by holding it in her hand.
Her mana was quickly becoming contaminated.
‘Does it…by any chance?’
Tang Xiao Zhen approached Jin-woo with it in her hand.
“Mr. Jin-woo. I think this monster is detecting mana.”
Tang Xiao Zhen infused her mana into it. Silence fell for a moment as there was no change. When Tang Xiao Zhen coughed in vain and approached one step closer, the earthworm began to wriggle. The Knights around them nodded.
“Did it detect our magic?”
The Knights thought that worms flocked to them because they sensed mana, as Tang Xiao Zhen said. They were using mana to move, so it was like a walking tracker.
That wasn’t the case. They just came to see Jin-woo. The worm’s body wriggled because it instinctively felt that Jin-woo was close.
“We tried to lure them…rather, we were lured here.”
In such a situation, she was worried about the safety of the main unit. She looked at the map hastily, but she couldn’t tell where it was. The buildings had already disappeared and were filled with only desert-like black sandhills. The remaining building that had been used as a milestone wasn’t visible.
Someone was playing around with them. Though that wasn’t it either; it just happened to be like this. The worms didn’t have the intelligence to plan anything, nor was anyone controlling them from behind.
Tang Xiao Zhen bit her lip.
The terrain was always constant because there was no wind. How come?
‘The worm’s wave…that is…’
It completely changed the terrain. The plan to lure down the giant Knight and monsters had already failed now that they were lost.
“It’s getting harder and harder to breathe.”
“Gasp, it would be a disaster without the device Sir Merlin gave me.”
The Knights were enduring while absorbing the crystal’s energy periodically; it was an artifact created by Merlin. Those with weak stamina were even worse off, though they regained some color in their faces as they grabbed the crystal and breathed.
‘If it’s a planned move…I could make a prediction. But…’
Prediction close to foresight was her ability. Tang Xiao Zhen knew it intuitively. Unlike the planned ones, the worms’ movements had a sudden feeling to them. It was as if they were possessed by something. That was what made it even more unpredictable.
She looked at the crystal.
“Maybe that device…”
Tang Xiao Zhen was startled. The crystal contained high-density pure mana. That might be the reason why the worms had been more stimulated. Everyone consumed crystals, except Jin-woo. The worms’ movements also crossed her mind: they seemed to focus on Jin-woo.
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Tang Xiao Zhen began to plan a more complex operation using the crystal.
“Mr. Jin-woo was right. We were too ignorant of this enemy. I think we’d better call Sir Merlin and call off the operation.”
Tang Xiao Zhen looked at Jin-woo. He nodded. Despite this situation, he remained unwavering. Tang Ciao Zhen was so grateful to him for being a strong pillar of composure even now. He rescued the Knights buried in earthworms and spared no effort to push forward. He was a Semi-Knight, but in Tang Xiao Zhen’s eyes, he had more skills and belief than a Knight.
“Hurry up and get in touch with them!”
The Circle Wizards tried to use their magic to contact Merlin, but the connection couldn’t go through. Their mana was too murky from the earthworms. Tang Xiao Zhen’s face turned pale.
It was that moment black sand began to whip up into the air even though there was no wind. The surroundings were so quiet. The Knights felt goosebumps at the stillness.
A cloud of black dust rose on the horizon.
The Knights who discovered the monster shouted so. Sharp fangs soared, and its tall body was packed with muscle. Black fur and golden fangs combined in a strange harmony. Such monsters flocked to them.
The Knights swallowed back to fear and raised their weapons. Tang Xiao Zhen and Choi Hee-yeon’s expressions also hardened. It was difficult to retreat because of their exhaustion.
They were caught in a trap. Tang Xiao Zhen guessed so.
That wasn’t the case either; it just happened to be like this. No, it was mostly Jin-woo’s fault.
* * *
It was quite difficult for Jin-woo to send the earthworms back without being so obvious, and even after sending back an army of them, he could tell there was still plenty left.
‘They’ve reproduced a lot. What did they eat…’
They had grown huge and more diverse, making it hard work to send them back. Tang but Jin-woo just agreed with her. He felt very grateful to her overactive imagination. She had been thinking hard and making excuses for him.
‘There was the setting that she was smart. Did it say she had foresight?’
To be precise, it was an excellent prediction ability. She certainly showed herself as a strategist in the original story, though the main character messed everything up.
Jin-woo breathed a sigh of relief when she even suggested canceling the operation. He felt so sorry for the Knights. As the earthworms approached Jin-woo, they had been swept away, and the number of wounded was considerable. There was also a Knight who nearly died from being buried in the black sand, but Jin-woo barely saved him. It was one of the Knights who set a death flag at the airport.
Most of the reasons the Knights were carried away or gave up on their missions were because of Jin-woo.
‘I was the death flag.’
Everyone looked tired, leaving only Jin-woo still in good condition. No, he was still in top condition. It felt like he was out for a walk in his front yard. This was Jin-woo’s territory, and even the installed artifact, Angelica, and the worms were also Jin-woo’s. This land also belonged to him now.
Naturally, the Gate also belonged to Jin-woo. Just like the JW Gate, territorial settings were possible. This was because from the moment Jin-woo stepped on the ground, the flow of the blocked dimension became smooth, and it was connected to the Sanctuary.
He saw orcs approaching from afar. Of course, after the earthworms were the orcs.
They were completely different from what he saw in Elonti. Their stature grew so large that they even felt charismatic. Even from a distance, he noticed that it was even larger. When he checked the information, he saw it was an orc chief named Gallock.
He was wearing a high-ranking artifact on one of his arms and as a replacement for one of his eyes.
It was the C-rank weapon of the main character’s rival, Wang Guo Liang, and it was a red gem that raised the main character’s mana.
Gallock looked at Jin-woo.
[Golden Orc Gallock displays infinite respect.]
He looked like a very menacing monster in the Knights’ eyes, but to Jin-woo’s eyes, he was nothing but a gentle pig. Although his blue eye flashed, it was very gentle. As Gallock knelt and bowed his head, all the orcs in the back did so.
It was spectacular.
It was the first time Tang Xiao Zhen looked openly confused. It was the same with Choi Hee-yeon and the Knights.
Somehow it looked like a ritual.
“M-maybe they’re trying to sacrifice us to the Demon King…”
“I heard that the Knights of the Seven Dragons Association were taken away…”
“Ugh, it’s understandable that the Demon King is getting stronger. But by human sacrifice…”
The Knights said so with distorted expressions. The reason that Angelica became huge was from the Magic Crystals consumed by China. There was no way Jin-woo would keep her around if she needed such a sacrifice from the start.
Jin-woo beckoned quietly to get up and retreat while the Knights had their eyes on the orcs. First of all, he wanted to get them back to a safe place in Elonti or anywhere he could.
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‘Don’t be so tactless and go away, please! Hide at the Gate for now!’
Since Gallock had evolved into a Golden Orc, his intelligence must have improved considerably. When he checked it with the Magic Eye of Information, it was slightly better than the average person. Unlike the worms, he must be sensible.
‘Did you understand?’
Was it because the desperate hand gestures that were made secretly worked? Gallock, who raised his head, opened his eyes wide when he saw Jin-woo’s waving. It was a gesture, no, a kind of sign that was taught to the ignorant.
It was dignified and charismatic. Even beyond that, it was divine. Gallock followed Jin-woo’s hand gestures and deeply admired them. He offered them a lesson in sin.
‘Come! I will take you back.’
That was what Gallock thought. He had a gut feeling that the time had finally come.
“The Emperor is calling! Let’s go!”
[The Orcs enter Berserker Mode due to their overflowing devotion.]
Such information came to mind as Gallock jumped up and started to rush towards Jin-woo. The other orcs roared and followed him.
Jin-woo was bewildered. It had turned into a violent fan meeting. They were running towards Jin-woo with a more fierce spirit than the earthworms.
The Knights standing in front exchanged glances as they watched the orcs rushing; they were the Korean Knights. They grabbed their swords, thinking of lovers and wives whom they left behind in their hometown. The Orcs didn’t care about them and rushed solely at Jin-woo. The Knights swung their swords filled with energy, but the orcs clashed with their bare bodies.
The fact that they weren’t afraid of death at all was terrifying.
The Knights lost their balance and were thrown back. When the orcs were about to step on them, Jin-woo swung his sword, blocking them.
The orcs in front of them burned and disappeared in an instant. The orcs behind them stopped for a moment.
Seeing their companions go to Valhalla, the orcs were convinced they had made the right choice. The orcs all flocked to Jin-woo, and it became a mess.
Jin-woo was sweating as he placed between the Knights and the orcs. Since the orcs didn’t fight Jin-woo’s sword, it seemed to burn away orcs at a tremendous speed in the eyes of others. The Knights were also in a hurry to stop the orcs heading towards Jin-woo. To describe it, it felt like a bodyguard blocking the fans from getting near to an idol.
[The power of the Orcs grows stronger with the Emperor of Gold by their side.]
The closer they got to Jin-woo, the more buffs they received. Gallock’s skin even deflected blades by now. Choi Hee-yeon swung her sword in panic, but it stopped only with a scratch.
Jin-woo had to come up with a solution before all those troublemakers trampled on the knights.
‘Let’s lure them aside for now.’
Jin-woo fell to the side, so they didn’t head toward the Knights. As the Knights were busy trying to stop the orcs, it seemed that they could manage somehow.
The ground rang.
Look at that huge tidal wave. It seemed that all the earthworms had come out.
The worms began to flock toward Jin-woo while causing waves to ripple in the earth. The Knights who were enduring among the orcs looked towards Jin-woo. Choi Hee-yeon’s eyes widened as she stood alongside Tang Xiao Zhen.
Jin-woo welcomed the orcs and earthworms while emitting golden sword energy. It seemed to be an unlikely situation.
Jin-woo swung his sword, kicking up a torrent of wind. The bodies of Choi Hee-yeon and the Knights were pushed aside, safely away from the stampede. The orcs who were confronting the Knights were swept away by a tidal wave of sand.
“Now that this has happened, I will lure them in.”
He thought it was an absurd excuse, but he said so. It felt like he had to say something, after all. Jin-woo started running in the opposite direction. The crystal hanging from his waist shone exceptionally.
Waves of earthworms swept behind Jin-woo. A huge wave of black sand covered everything, separating Jin-woo and the Knights.
* * *
The Knights, who were swept away by the waves of black sand, came to their senses after a little while and barely managed to get to their feet. There were many Knights and Semi-Knights who had fully passed out.
Choi Hee-yeon stood up in a hurry and looked for Jin-woo, but there was nothing in sight except a massive hill of sand and dirt.
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Choi Hee-yeon fell to her knees with a blank expression on her face. It was the same as Tang Xiao Zhen, who just barely stood. Choi Hee-yeon tried to get rid of the black sand that had reached up to her thighs and head to Jin-woo’s side. But she could hardly go on. She had no idea where he was buried.
Choi Hee-yeon stood staring blankly at the ground. The knights who followed also had a grim look on their faces. They clenched their teeth as they realized what had happened. They had all seen it. Lee Jin-woo became bait to draw away the monsters. In such a situation, he laughed and blew them away to safety.
‘It’s because of me.’
Tang Xiao Zhen felt a strong sense of guilt. Jin-woo was cautious every time, but it was her who pushed him. It was because she thought China could get a little stake in the Gate only if she contributed. They couldn’t lose the Gate like this.
Jin-woo presented the right opinion at each turn of their meeting. They could have prevented this if they had been careful, as he said. Eventually, he had been forced to deal with it alone. He saved his stamina and mana, enduring the pain and refusing to use the crystal. He alone lured away the earthworms and buried the monsters.
That was probably the only loophole he noticed. The search for Jin-woo continued for a long time, but they couldn’t find a single trace of him. There weren’t even traces of the monsters.
Choi Hee-yeon dug away at the ground, but the black sand flowed down and stifled her progress. She gripped the black sand, crushing it. She stared at the sandhill.
After what felt like an eternity, Choi Hee-yeon slowly raised her body.
“To kill the Demon King.”
In front of Choi Hee-yeon’s murderous spirit, Tang Xiao Zhen gulped and retreated behind her. The plan had changed.
* * *
The huge earthworms charged, churning the earth and forming hills, but he wasn’t buried in the sand or anything like that.
It was as Choi Hee-yeon was searching for him that Jin-woo produced Elf Liquor from his subspace and enjoyed a drink. Gallock was restlessly stood in front of Jin-woo. He and his orcs only became calm when they were in front of Jin-woo. The charge wasn’t to attack Jin-woo but to line up in front of him. Like the earthworms.
They seemed a little angry when the Knights blocked them, but now they looked like scared puppies. No, pigs. A few orcs were badly injured, so Jin-woo was kind enough to treat them.
“Would you like to drink?”
“Oh, it’s an honor!”
Gallock took the glass with both hands.
“How is it?”
“I-it tastes good. As expected, my Lord…”
“That’s Elf Liquor.”
“U-ugh. I have sinned.”
When Gallock banged his head on the ground, the orcs followed him.
“Now, let’s get along with each other.”
“Of course! Those pig…no, the elves are now our siblings!”
The orcs seemed to understand it well. It was hard to imagine them being friendly with the elves, but anyway, there would be no dispute now.
‘It will take quite some time to move them all.’
For now, all the earthworms and orcs were transferred in order. Arina returned the gigantic earthworms to the form of small eggs. Even so, it was enough to fill a single repository.
Jin-woo had returned to the Sanctuary. Since the demonized area was Jin-woo’s territory, he was able to come and go freely.
“Master, I have taken care of everything.”
“How about the orcs?”
“I sent them to the outskirts ground. It is a very prosperous land so that they will settle there.”
“That’s great. Now all I have to do is to bring Angelica home.”
He was relieved. The orcs had made many sacrifices, but they avoided extinction. He even gave them a place to settle down, so he thought they would live well in the future.
He was thinking about going back right away, but Jin-woo stopped by the study for a while.
Yoo-na was standing by in the study. Yoo-na was on the phone, but when she saw Jin-woo, it dropped from her hand. She looked as if she had seen a ghost, with her eyes turned exceptionally red.
Jin-woo wondered what was going on.
“I heard you died.”
Ah! He didn’t explain it!
Jin-woo was already dead. It was a heroic end.
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