The Novel's Villain - Chapter 177
51. Gift (3)
The size of the Lainez Kingdom’s fleet was amazing.
The enemy who made them mobilize such a fleet was one of the few throughout their history. It was a rescue operation, not an all-out war, but it was no exaggeration to say all of their available core forces had arrived.
In addition, the Space Federation provided fleets gathered from different galaxies. Although they lost a lot to the Machine Emperor, their military forces across the universe were still intact, albeit relatively outdated.
The armada that filled the vast outer space was majestic, to say the least. The battleship Queen Lainez rode even shone, almost as if it had become one of the stars around it.
In the name of saving humanity, they joined forces with high morale.
But not anymore.
Before their eyes were monsters not even the army of machines could compare to.
[All of the fleet’s particle beam cannons are ready to fire!]
[The new particle core has been activated!]
It was a new weapon developed by Count Lear by analyzing the mana crystal. Its power was the same as the previous one, but it scaled along with the number of battleships present.
That was derived from the characteristics of mana.
[Power output is expected to increase by 170.32%! With this, it might be possible!]
[3. 2. 1. Fire!]
The Lainez Kingdom and the Space Federation’s allied fleets fired particle beam cannons simultaneously, creating an exalted brilliance that stretched out with the momentum to erase the space itself.
‘This should do it!’
Witnessing the light of hope made from the jewel Kim Gun-joo brought, Count Lear gained newfound expectations.
After all, they were able to obtain a power that didn’t lag behind against the mechanical army’s firepower at all.
Clenching her hands, she looked straight ahead as the particle beams hit the monsters, causing a dazzling light to burst and brightly color the outer space.
Queen Leona, barely recovering her consciousness, watched the scene unfold impatiently.
“Did we win?” She foolishly asked.
No living creature could survive such a barrage. But she seemed to have jinxed it.
When all light dissipated, so did their hope.
The giant monsters were unscathed.
That wasn’t all.
[Space Federation 1st Fleet, come in!]
[Fleet Captain Heint! Respond!]
The Cockroach clan evolved while under the assaults of the Machine Emperor’s planetary units. In doing so, their shells naturally became resistant to beam attacks.
The moment the spaceships’ barrage touched their shells, they were deflected, causing them to ricochet out in different directions. The cockroaches were unharmed, but not those around them.
Their strength became their poison.
Queen Leona and Lear’s jaws dropped as they watched the reflected beams destroy some of their battleships.
Tens of thousands of battleship-sized monsters and hundreds of thousands of smaller monsters turned their attention towards the fleet in unison. Their large, disgusting insect-like pupils were clearly visible even amid the darkness of the universe.
They glowed red, after all.
Queen Leona felt overwhelming fear devour her.
So did Lear and the captains.
But the Cockroach clan remained non-hostile. Their kind-hearted race ate the Machine Emperor’s attacks peacefully and without complaints while communicating telepathically among each other using their antennae.
‘Huh? Brothers, did they just explode?’
‘Oh! The humans are in danger!’
‘The Great Emperor told us to protect them! Not a single one must die!’
The Cockroach clan looked at the exploding battleships. If they left them alone, their passengers would all burn to death.
Transport insects that easily exceeded the size of a destroyer stepped up, allowing cockroaches the size of fighter jets to spew out of their body and fly towards the ruined vessels en masse.
There were millions of them.
[Fire at will!]
[Our attacks have no effects on them!]
The crew of the Main Bridge displayed the scene ahead of them on a screen and zoomed in.
Queen Leona covered her mouth with her hand as she watched what seemed like a horrifying moment to her. Fighter-sized cockroaches clung to the exploding battleships, devoured their armor, and went inside.
In an instant, their vessels turned into hives of monsters.
The spacecraft around them hurriedly fired more beams, but they proved counterproductive. Just like before, their attacks bounced off in different directions, causing even greater damage.
‘Brothers, more explosions!’
‘We’ll have to save them first.’
As the chaos around them increased, the cockroaches more actively attempted to rescue humans. However, only screams could be heard from the vessels they had entered.
Upon finding their targets, they chewed through the ships’ barriers.
One of the soldiers in a reinforced suit screamed and fired his gun at a cockroach, but his bullets couldn’t even scratch its shell.
Turning its head towards him, it swallowed him up, melting his reinforcement suit swiftly and safely storing him in its stomach naked.
The insects roamed the battleships, devouring all humans they could find.
It didn’t take long for them to annihilate an entire wing of the Space Federation and Lainez Kingdom’s fleets.
However, since the damages kept accumulating, the Cockroach clan was forced to make a decision.
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They found it better to swallow them all and protect them in their stomachs rather than risking them being killed by a blind beam.
The Cockroach clan was quick to act upon their new plan. However, as the number of battleships decreased rapidly, the robots began to scramble around along with the fighter jets.
Although they lacked in every way compared to the Holy Union’s robots, they still had strategic value and could show tremendous power under the right circumstances.
Mecha squadrons began to sortie around Queen Leona’s battleship.
[Block them with everything you’ve got!]
[Protect the Queen with your lives!]
[Vice-Captain Raymon! Danger incoming!]
A giant cockroach tore off the arms and legs of Vice-Commander Raymon’s robot, then pierced through its fuselage with its tentacles, pulling him out and safely depositing him in its stomach.
Iris, the commander-in-chief engaged to Raymon, roared. As she charged towards it, her beam sword clashed against its hard shell, but it was deflected.
Tentacles that spewed out of the cockroach’s mouth wrapped around her mecha. The moment its saliva touched its surface, it all melted.
It then swallowed all of it at once.
Queen Leona slammed her fist as she watched them get annihilated helplessly.
Their opponents had no weaknesses. They couldn’t even give them a proper fight.
‘What the hell are those monsters?!’
“… Retreat! Order the entire fleet to escape!” Queen Leona ordered urgently.
When her battleship turned around, the others did the same.
[Warp Drive ready!]
[Our engine output is unstable and falling sharply! 70%, 64%… ]
[We need time!]
Lear quickly analyzed the situation.
An energy similar to her mana crystal interfered with their vessels, lowering their engine’s power.
The cockroaches had created a mana forcefield.
Their internal organ created for warping ceaselessly released it. It was also what they used for long-distance telepathy, after all.
It was a coincidence.
But Count Lear didn’t think so.
‘They’re not just brainless monsters…’
They got caught in their trap like insects stuck in a spider web.
At this point, somehow increasing their engines’ output to escape was the only way for them to warp and survive.
“If I can just block their interference by activating the particle core… Ah!”
Kim Gun-joo’s crystal.
If they could resonate it with their new particle core, she might be able to disrupt their interference, making a fleet-wide warp possible once more. She built a program on the fly and uploaded it to the system.
“As long as Your Majesty’s alive… We haven’t lost yet. We’ll be able to win.”
She bowed her head to the queen and ran straight to the hangar, where a robot was waiting for her.
“I’ll have to step up here.”
Just as she tried to open its cockpit and board it, Latica appeared.
“What’s going on?”
Latica hugged her and entered ahead of her.
“We’ll have to pop it near their engine. Once its core has been activated, we’ll be able to block their jamming field for a while. If my theory is correct, damaging those monsters will be possible as well.”
“This is the crystal you received from Kim Emperor.”
“… It’s also our last hope.”
Lear smiled and looked at Latica.
“Thank you. Meeting you was the only honor in my life.”
“Latica… I’ll make sure you’re safe.”
“That’s my line.”
Latica smiled and looked at her, finding her expression quite perplexed.
The jewel in Lear’s hand had vanished.
Latica gently pushed her away, causing her to fall onto the ground just as she was about to enter the cockpit.
She then looked at the mana crystal in her hand.
“I’m a pirate. Only I should be doing these things.”
Without hesitation, she closed the door and wore the helmet near her seat. Her robot’s eyes lit up and began to move soon enough, allowing her to leave the ship by manually opening the hangar.
Lear tried to communicate with Latica with tears flowing from her eyes.
[Come back! I-I should be the one to do it!]
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Her face appeared on the robot’s screen.
Latica laughed. There were already a lot of monsters around her. Narrowly dodging all the tentacles, she rushed towards her target.
Taking a locket out of her pocket, she looked at the childhood photo of her and her sister inside it.
“My younger sister was a good kid. She must’ve gone into heaven.”
[… Her name was Serra, wasn’t it?]
“Yes. She looked a lot like you. And she had a pretty smile.”
Latica mounted their engine.
Monsters immediately flocked around her.
“I’ll most likely go to hell. I carry way too many sins. Even so… If only we can meet in the afterlife, even if it’s just for a little while…”
[… I’m sure you two will be able to meet one day.]
She opened the cockpit, causing the locket in her hand to fly out into space. Just as a monster came far too close to her, she gripped the mana crystal in her hand as strong as she could to make it burst.
At that moment, the engine burned red, and core resonance began.
[Our output has been restored!]
[Ten seconds before warp drive!]
Lear plopped down crying.
Queen Leona saluted as she looked at Latica’s telecommunication screen. So did the other commanders.
With their cores resonating with the engine, the fleet succeeded in warping away from the battlefield.
The Cockroach clan tilted their heads.
‘Huh? Did it work?’
‘They looked nervous… But they were amazing!’
‘Fortunately, everything seemed to have gone well.’
‘Then let’s get back to work!’
Operating the warp drive in an unstable state was dangerous, which was why they tried to stop them, but they succeeded anyway.
Latica lost her mind at that moment, feeling the touch of the tentacles wrapping around her own body.
She had never smiled since the day her sister became vegetated, but there was now a small smile on her face.
For some reason, she felt like she’d soon meet Serra.
* * *
Jin-woo was sitting on a horse-drawn carriage and playing a game.
It took him quite some time to move the Dark Star since transporting it required a lot of energy due to its large size.
If combined with the Dark Emperor, it could use Jin-woo’s mana to use the warp drive, but that posed an entirely different problem.
The Dark Star was far too dense and had a strong gravitational pull.
Hence, Under Darky’s calculations, it decided to be incorporated into the Dark Eye’s satellite instead, theorizing that it could use the Dark Star to further stabilize its rotational axis and orbit.
Moreover, it was close to the Demon’s Eye. That would enable swift information exchanges.
The Demon’s Eye’s visuals were a bit annoying, but it should be fine from a distance.
“This is difficult.”
[I would like to recommend a strategy. Would you like me to elaborate?]
“No, it’s okay. That would be no fun.”
The 2D heroine that appeared on the robot’s screen looked mad.
He had three options to go with, but Jin-woo couldn’t easily choose one of them. In Darky’s words, it was a masterpiece that realistically expressed the human mind.
Its name was Thumping Harem Town, but this game’s story was quite beautiful.
And there were countless masterpieces like it in the Delox Empire’s data.
They were indeed a virtuous nation. They even liked this kind of game.
Not only were they scientific and technologic, but they also had highly developed literature, art, and sub-culture.
He didn’t even know it was only natural for AIs to care for a country’s overall affairs.
In a nutshell, they were otakus of a much higher level than Earthlings. It seemed safe to say that their average citizen was on the same level as Se-yeon.
‘Extroversion… It’s a scary setting.’
He couldn’t help but doubt Young-hoon’s mental world.
The Delox Empire could have enjoyed these games using a higher level of technology than holograms, perhaps even through perfected augmented reality.
Even Jin-woo, who had no hobbies in this area, found it amazing.
It was almost impossible to do it alone.
What if he mobilized Haruring and Arorong along with Darky’s calculations?
All technologies of the Delox Empire were stored in the Dark Star. They were so excellent even G&P coveted them.
Even the New World Universe couldn’t make couples out of its own players. That was one of the reasons why JW Books’ World Tree was so popular. Its AI had gone beyond a simple assistant and became a conversation partner.
Without it, humans would be forced to interact with each other.
However, what if the player could become the main character in books or stories?
‘Would it be fun?’
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He wondered about it, but he already knew it would be.
‘The Delox Empire is now mine…’
Hence, all of its data also belonged to him.
He immediately named it New World: Romance.
[I have completed all tasks.]
“Then let’s proceed slowly.”
Just as he was about to move, the space next to the Dark Star shook, and countless cockroaches appeared.
Among them was a being with extremely powerful energy.
The Cockroach Queen had become a full-fledged emperor.
She used to have a body as huge as a mountain, but she now looked different.
He looked at her using the Magic Eye of Information.
[S+] Power of Evolution
‘All according to the taste of the Great Emperor!’
Her newfound power allowed her to change her physique however she deemed fit. Her massive appearance being compacted into a smaller figure extremely boosted her physical abilities, and she could revert to her original form at any time.
The Cockroach Queen now had a feminine body with light brown hair. She was a little shorter than Jin-woo, but she was tall for a woman.
Behind her back were insect wings, but her beauty made them look like fairy wings.
In terms of physical abilities, she was superior to Jin-woo.
In fact, she was probably the most physically capable except for an out-of-standard emperor like Maze.
The Cockroach Queen cut through space and approached him as he came out of his robot and descended on the Dark Star.
She landed in front of him.
“I transformed according to the Great Emperor’s taste. What do you think? It seems our species provokes disgust, so…”
“You look amazing.”
She smiled and reached out her hand. Then a giant cockroach approached.
With a flick of her finger, it compressed until it was only the size of her palm, turning into a cute-looking little girl with insect wings in the process.
“If they all become this small, even if our number increases, it’ll be easy to secure a residential area for all of us. Even in this state, our strengths and abilities remain the same, providing us with many advantages.”
She transformed all of her subordinates.
‘They must be…’
Although elves were also called fairies, the Cockroach clan now actually looked like them.
Now that he thought about it, he had seen elves, dragons, demons, angels, and even dwarves, but he had never found fairies.
‘They’re more like yokai than fairies, but…’
They were passable enough to be the latter.
She kept calling herself the Cockroach Queen, so he thought of a suitable name for her.
“I’ll call you Faro.”
“To be given a name by the Great Emperor himself… It’s an honor. Thank you.”
He really only took the first two letters of Fairy and Roach, but Faro was so moved she began to weep.
The cockroaches assumed their human forms as they flocked around her. The sight itself was majestic, but knowing they were all originally cockroaches, Jin-woo couldn’t help but feel strange about it.
“I have dealt with all the mechanical units imbued with the Machine Emperor’s power,” Faro began her report. “Traces of its power remain, however, requiring constant surveillance.”
According to her, there were places where the power of the Machine Emperor had penetrated deep into civilization. It was unfortunate, but those infested societies would ultimately have to be destroyed completely.
It was a better choice than losing all life.
When she got to the part about the Lainez Kingdom and the Space Federation’s fleets, Jin-woo shook his head and sighed a little.
‘Their timing was bad.’
He decided to think positively.
Others shouldn’t have access to the territory of the Delox Empire, after all. It was dangerous for machines to approach, considering there might still be remnants of the Machine Emperor in there.
Cockroaches were stationed around each infested planet, putting them all under constant surveillance.
Instead of blocking access from the outside, he decided to provide them lots of support instead. Now that they could turn into humans, they shouldn’t have trouble infiltrating into their civilizations.
Just like fairies.
Many of the Lainez Kingdom and Space Federation’s soldiers were still in their stomachs.
Some of them were injured, but they miraculously sustained no fatalities. A few of them suffered grievous full-body burns, though, and were currently being treated by tentacles.
Nevertheless, he couldn’t just return them…
‘For now, I should move them to the Holy Union’s planet.’
Although there were many of them, it would be possible to integrate them if Lilith could manipulate everyone’s memories through their dreams.
Jin-woo was far too engrossed in his thoughts.
“What do you think, Darky?”
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“This Thumping Harem Town… It’s amazing.”
Faro’s hand turned into a tentacle and communicated with Darky, allowing it to send the game’s information to her, which she then converted into biometric information.
She created a new form of evolution!
[Instead of deducting points we will instead unlock two chapters today.]
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