Novel Name : The Novel's Villain

The Novel's Villain - Chapter 167

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48. The Birth of the Dark Empire (4)
Red Blade Latica was going insane. Communication from Single-eyed Noct’s fleet was suddenly cut off, and the Pirates Union was set ablaze with rage. Convinced that the Delox Empire or the Lainez Kingdom intervened, Latica resolved herself destroy their enemies, whoever they were.
She snorted when she first encountered the assholes called themselves the Dark Empire, finding it ridiculous that they dared venture near the Pirates Union base. Their battleships were indeed quite powerful, that much was obvious at a glance, but there were only three of them. They didn’t know their place.
However, it didn’t take long for her wrath to turn cold.
“Kugh! What the hell was that?!”
Latica punched the floor, having barely crawled out of the escape craft. Her white skin was stained with ash and blood. This was a nightmare turned reality. In a single attack, the mothership supporting the Pirates Union was destroyed, and several of their battleships. But it didn’t end there.
‘That humanoid robot…’
She heard about it from an informant planted in the Lainez Kingdom. According to their intel, the new weapon they were developing in secret was a humanoid robot. Moreover, based on the data they obtained, it certainly seemed to hold tremendous power if it were operated strategically. However, the one before her had a black fuselage, which was different from the reports.
And rather than being a robot, it was almost like a god.
‘I can’t win against that.’
Latica turned her attention to the gas planet. Named the Pirate Storm, it had lost its original color and was engulfed in flames. Given the way the center was swirling around, it looked like the Demon’s Eye.
Her body trembled. How long had it been since she felt afraid? She remembered the distant days before her escape and attaining freedom. No, what she felt now was a primal fear even that part of her life couldn’t compare.
“C-Captain! You’re safe!”
Her men rushed to her side to support her. With their help, Latica headed to the command room. With her fleet damaged, they were forced to defend themselves at the satellite base, which possessed an unyielding defense system that not even the empire could easily penetrate through. Of course, that was assuming it worked properly.
Arriving, what caught her eyes first were the expressions of her frightened subordinates. Under normal circumstances, she would’ve scolded them, but she couldn’t. How could she, when her expression wasn’t much different?
“What’s the current situation?”
“Seventy percent of the defense system went down due to major collateral impacts. Right now, w-we’re having difficulties supplying the power it needs. The base’s outer shield has been broken as well… we’re barely maintaining an atmosphere.”
They had come to the point where they could consider themselves fortunate at enduring the shockwaves alone. She couldn’t help but question her opponents’ motives, however. Their base would’ve disappeared if that ridiculous attack had reached this far. Why did they decide to keep this place intact?
She glanced at the radar. The asteroid zone had completely disappeared.
“H-huh?! S-something is approaching! Please take a look at this!”
Latica directed her gaze to the screen. It didn’t have a black fuselage, but a humanoid robot was descending toward them. Behind it was a huge spacecraft that looked like a transport ship. And while their defensive turrets certainly worked…
Nothing could even get close to the robot.
“A-all turrets have been neutralized!”
“I-it’s over!”
The pirates were thrown into chaos. Although they were elites trained by her, they couldn’t help the fear they felt. Latica tried to remain calm.
“Everyone, arm yourselves.”
“Hold yourselves together!”
She approached one of her cowering subordinates, grabbed him by the neck, and slapped him. He barely gripped onto his senses and, with shaky hands, began to arm himself. They equipped themselves with armored suits and personal firearms. They already knew it wouldn’t work against their inbound opponent, but they wanted to face their ends with a pirate-like spirit at the very least.
‘We won’t let their power turn us into dogs.’
Those words were the driving force that allowed Latica to endure until now.
‘I’m sorry, Serra.’
Latica’s expression hardened as she glanced at the picture inside her necklace. She, too, was armed with a suit, but hers utilized Lainez Kingdom’s latest technology. Similar to tights, it was thinner than the normal version but offered higher defensive capabilities.
Stepping out of the command room, she built a defensive line while monitoring the situation. Meanwhile, the robot landed on the wide icy plains in front of the satellite base.
‘Why isn’t it attacking us?’
Latica was confused. At that moment, the robot opened up, and its pilot disembarked. The doors of the transport ship slid open as soon as it landed after him.
An army in black helmets and black outfits marched out. With a glance, she could already tell all their body parts had been replaced with machines.
‘They’ve all undergone body modification…’
Human body modification, a process accompanied by terrible pain. Creating neural connections wasn’t easy, and synchronizing the brain with mechanical parts caused the subject immeasurable agony. Though free from the law, even pirates were reluctant to attempt it since it was close to torture. However, an army composed of soldiers who had undergone such a procedure stood right there.
They lined up, all of them moving as one. Rather than guns, they were each holding a red sword.
“T-that army…”
“D-did they call themselves the Dark Empire?”
The pirates gulped. Their foes weren’t doing anything, yet they were already intimidated. Latica tried as best as she could to see it as an opportunity, but her instincts, which had saved her from numerous threats in the past, were screaming for her to run away.
She did have her reasons why she couldn’t give up the satellite base, though. That was why she returned instead of attempting to warp away like the others.
Clenching her teeth, Latica watched the situation closely. Their foes didn’t move; even the pilot was standing still.
“What’re they doing?”
“I-it looks like they’re waiting for something.”
But what on earth was it? She soon received her answer.
Latica’s men screamed. That black fuselage…
The culprit who had instilled fear in Latica and her pirates appeared. Looking at it as it landed, she couldn’t help but gulp. Rather than murderous intention or anger, there were only fear and despair left in her eyes. She wasn’t afraid of death. Now, however, with her nerves focused on the entity before her, she couldn’t stop her body from trembling.
When its fuselage opened, black smoke wisped out along with the man climbing out. It surrounded him like a cloak, moving almost like tentacles.
As he landed on the icy plains, the soldiers split up to either side of him, creating a path. Latica’s eyes widened. She easily recognized him.
This was the Absolute Ruler, a being not even the emperor of the Delox Empire or the queen of the Lainez Kingdom could compare to. When he beckoned, the army began to move, advancing slowly forward. They held no ranged weapons, but they didn’t even intend to take cover. Defenselessly and recklessly, they marched onwards.
On Latica’s order, the pirates began to let a volley loose.
They had enough firepower to push their opponents back, even though they wore armored suits. It even made her think they could damage them, despite their bodies having undergone modifications. It didn’t take long for her to realize how wrong she was.
They began to swing their red swords.
Slicing through the air, they cut down the incoming projectiles, allowing them to pass through the field unscathed. At the forefront of the army was the Absolute Ruler, approaching at a leisurely pace.
* * *
Jin-woo landed at the satellite base and disembarked from the Dark Flame Emperor. Exiting its cockpit, a black fog enveloped him as his clothes changed. What was originally a refined suit now looked something more dignified and noble.
He always thought such details were useless.
The T1 Troops had already formed up. Yoo-na and the others were among them, standing at attention. Since he said he was coming, they decided to wait for him.
“Subdue the pirates and rescue the commoners.”
With such a simple order, their army advanced.
Their opponents tried to fend them off, but their efforts were futile. The T1 Troops all knew martial arts, after all. However, Yoo-na and the others proved the scariest among them all. With a swing of her sword, she cut through the pirates’ cover and collapsed their defensive line. Forced to retreat into their base, they decided to lock themselves in and use that as their last bastion. Although the results were obvious, they indicated their will not to be taken lightly.
But Jin-woo was a busy man. He had no intention of letting them resist.
As soon as he reached the heavy door, he planted his palm against it, causing it to fly backward. Panicking, the pirates opened fire.
The Emperor of Gold raised his head. As soon as the bullets reached a certain distance from him, they stopped dead in their tracks, which he thought was pretty good directing. He smiled as he flicked one.
As soon as he did, they began dropping to the floor like flies.
Left with no other options, the pirates tried to run away screaming, but the nearby T1s easily caught up to them and disarmed them using their red swords, showing not even a single drop of emotion.
Since he ordered them to only suppress the pirates, the T1s stopped by breaking their limbs and gathering them all into one place. That was what made them even more terrifying.
Jin-woo entered the base. Bullets raced toward him from all directions, but they all fell to the floor before they could touch him.
Moreover, without even needing to reach out, the barrier installed in the hallway went down. Just by walking closer, it melted and disappeared. Before long, a fairly admirable command room appeared before him.
Stomp! Stomp!
Jin-woo strolled in, the sound of his steps unusually loud as the floor was made of some special material. Latica and her subordinates looked to him, each wearing thickly armored suits and holding large guns. They tried to pull the trigger, but their fingers wouldn’t move. The mana that flowed from him paralyzed their bodies.
‘Hmm… is it possible?’
Stretching out his hand and raising it slowly, the pirates began to float into the air.
Latica couldn’t hide her surprise. She tried to rationalize that blocking bullets with a sword was possible through human body modification, but this scene didn’t make any sense at all.
Jin-woo slowly clenched his fist.
Parts of their suits crumbled off.
Screaming in fear, their armor slowly crumpled and fell helplessly to the floor. Latica felt it. Once he was done, her men would be shattered.
“Stop! Stop it! I’ll make a deal with you.”
She shouted. Jin-woo turned to look at her. He finally had his first encounter with the heroine of the Sci-Fi World, but it wasn’t very romantic.
When he lowered his hand, the pirates fell to the floor with their suits completely smashed. They had all fainted. Latica glared at Jin-woo. She was still holding a whip-like weapon, but her hands were trembling.
“W-who the h-hell are you?!”
“We already told you. We’re the Army of the Dark Empire.”
“Dark Empire…”
That was the setting.
“Why? Why did you attack us? What have we done to you?!”
“What reason do you have to commit piracy?”
“That’s… freedom.”
The Pirates Union expanded in the name of freedom. She wanted to build a force that not even the empire, the kingdom, or the Federation could sweep away. Only then would her dream come true.
“The universe is full of absurdity! If we do not rebel, we’ll be endlessly persecuted!”
However, he didn’t have the right to persecute her, nor did he want to have such a verbal battle. He never did move with faith. Jin-woo paid back what he owed and uprooted anything that bothered him before it could grow.
Latica attacked Jin-woo with her whip, a flash of light accompanying the crack. It was a formidable move, but it looked clumsy to his eyes. She pulled her weapon with all of her strength as soon as it wrapped around his hand, but he remained immobile. Sparks spattered from her whip.
Applying a bit of strength, he broke it into pieces. Latica immediately stepped back and pulled a dagger out of the holster attached to her thigh as her fragmented weapon fell to the ground. Jin-woo continued to watch.
‘There is indeed a story behind her.’
Although she justified her actions using the concept of freedom, her motives were closer to vengeance. Originally a commoner of the Empire, the nobles heavily abused her younger sister, leaving her half-dead. She now lay asleep in a hibernation capsule, unable to be revived even with the Lainez Kingdom’s science.
‘Is her name Serra?’
He remembered the Fountain of Eternal Life used by the emperor, which enabled all forms of healing. Since the story around it was a legend, its existence being merely a lie was highly likely. Even so, the Empire’s destruction and reaching the Fountain of Eternal Life remained as Latica’s goals. To achieve them, she was willing to do whatever it took.
However, now that her pirate fleet had been obliterated, she lost all hope. At this point, Latica wanted to die a resolute and honorable death with her sister.
He shook his head. It was such a cliche setting.
‘It seems my personality is twisted, too, after all.’
He was never the type to do what others wanted. Looking around with the Magic Eye of Information, he found a hibernation device under the command room. Approaching it, Latica’s expression changed.
She rushed in with her dagger, but he swung his hand lightly and blew her away. Then, with a stomp, he caused the capsule to pop out.
“This is terrible.”
Inside it was her sister. Although she was alive, her body was severely damaged. If he turned off her hibernation device, she wouldn’t last even an hour.
“Don’t touch her!”
Latica rushed in again, but she was thrown back before reaching her target. Glancing over, he smiled slyly.
“I’ll take this.”
“S-stop it!”
Jin-woo pulled out the hibernation capsule. Latica’s face distorted with anger.
“Wouldn’t it be perfect as a decoration?”
He deliberately provoked her. She rushed in again, but she was sent flying across the room once more. Her suit was already in tatters.
Latica stumbled up. But this time, she knelt, having lost her will to fight.
“P-please… don’t do this.”
“There were many children like this one among those kidnapped by your pirates.”
He put the hibernation capsule into his subspace as she wept, reaching out to her sister. With no intention of killing her, he hung an artifact with a tracking function around her neck.
Around this time, the T1 Troops and Yoo-na approached.
“Your Majesty, that woman…”
“Leave her.”
The T1 Troops took all the pirates but her. Jin-woo turned away.
“No! D-don’t take her! Uaaarggh!”
Her cry echoed through the empty halls of the satellite base. Before exiting the command room, he turned to look down upon her.
Latica had collapsed.
‘She’s a mess, but I can save her.’
Serra’s body was in a grave state, but healing her wouldn’t be a problem with his potions. In the side story, she would eventually die after her sister failed to save her, at which point the main protagonist would comfort Latica in a rather mature scene. It was so cliché that Jin-woo skipped that part entirely, refusing to read it at all.
The Pirates Union, which should have grown into a huge force with the protagonist’s help, disappeared in mere moments.
And its obliteration marked the birth of the Dark Empire.
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