Solo Max Level Newbie Chapter 139

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Solo Max-Level Newbie

Chapter 139: How a Veteran Shakes the Battlefront (2)

About 3 hours had passed since the Frost Blade Tribe and I had agreed to a temporary alliance.

Yu Yeonhwa and Lee Taemin had rejoined us a little while ago after reconnoitering.

Jinhyuk had also parted ways with Karakal and positioned himself with our group.

[Lee Taemin activates the military fortress skill ‘Sedes.’]

An ability to command all summoned creatures collectively.

Hundreds of mechanized troops were deployed within the forest.

Vroom Vroom!

Fully-charged mana shells emitted a bizarre resonance.

“Huuuu…”

Yu Yeonhwa checked her knuckles, steadied her breathing.

Her mana, refined through the Taeching Hwarang Heart Technique, seeped into every corner of her body.

‘Indeed, both have experienced impressive growth.’

Jinhyuk softly uttered a sigh of admiration.

I had not realized it due to our separate actions, but watching their skill handling and mana manipulation, I could see why veterans are truly veterans.

Compared to them, Jang Eunseok, whom we had met recently, was akin to a flustered deer.

This is why past experience matters.

We waited for the enemy, fully prepared…

But until late into the night, there was no significant movement from the enemy’s formation.

“It’s strange. It’s too quiet.”

Lee Taemin commented through the [Machine Lord] ability as he monitored the forest.

There were as many as 30 drones floating in the sky.

They maintained a delicate balance to maximize their operational range without getting discovered by the enemy.

It meant that we had complete control over this area.

However, the uncomfortable silence made Lee Taemin uneasy.

Yu Yeonhwa felt the same sense of foreboding.

“Brother, didn’t you say that there’s someone more troublesome than the two vampires?”

“That’s right.”

Jinhyuk nodded.

Certainly, Karakal had mentioned that a vampire stronger than Bertillon and Ophelia from the Decasus Household had arrived. If it had power even Karakal feared, then there was no reason for our forces to be overwhelmed…

It was at this moment.

Rumble Rumble!

An enormous tremor shook the ground, and an overwhelmingly strong mana was felt, difficult to comprehend.

“Brother!”

Lee Taemin shouted.

The drones quickly flew toward a certain direction.

Could it be…

“Trolls! It’s coming from the direction where the Ice Trolls are!”

Yu Yeonhwa pointed in a particular direction.

Simultaneously.

A mana storm, created by the crimson sparks, fell from the sky right where the freshwater lake was.

Boom! Crash! Bang!

Like a meteor shower, lightning began transforming the ground into a field of devastation.

The sight was cataclysmic.

Lee Taemin and Yu Yeonhwa’s faces twisted in horror.

…The situation became clear.

The enemy had predicted that we would join forces with the Frost Blade Tribe.

And on the contrary, they had neutralized our hidden card.

We were caught completely off-guard.

And all of this.

‘It turns out exactly as I expected.’

Jinhyuk’s prediction had been accurate.

***

The formation at the lake had completely changed.

Decorated with newly formed craters, the lake served as a testament to the mercilessness of the recent bombardment.

‘This is checkmate.’

Ophelia smiled, satisfied, as she gazed at the rising smoke.

In the midst of the explosion, no creature could have survived.

The attack had been prepared flawlessly.

It was a perfect surprise attack that hit its mark.

But.

“No, this can’t be…! There’s not a single one… not even one in sight.”

A vampire minion shouted in disbelief.

It was inevitable.

The trolls that should have been charred were nowhere to be found.

“Quit your nonsense! This place is supposed to be the Frost Blade Tribe’s headquarters. Look carefully, now!”

Ophelia’s voice became sharp.

“I have the same result over here!”

“And here as well!”

“Damn it, it’s completely empty.”

No amount of firepower could explain the complete evaporation of bodies and debris.

But denial wouldn’t change reality.

The Frost Blade Tribe was not here.

And only one thing could be inferred from that.

‘Don’t tell me… it was empty to begin with?’

Yes.

This could only mean that we had anticipated the ambush.

In a moment of shock, just as if hit on the head with a hammer, Ophelia’s face blushed with anger.

It was an unbearable humiliation to have been outwitted by mere humans in this game of strategy.

Clench!

Her fangs grinded audibly.

“Then, someone was waiting for us to exhaust our mana.”

A murmur as if talking to oneself…

“Yes. We’ve been waiting for just the right moment.”

Someone responded.

[The three-star barrier ‘Dimension Severance’ is deactivated.]

The air, once void of anything, cracked open.

The landscape shattered.

And then.

Step.

A figure in white armor, a saint named Teresa, appeared with light steps.

The legion of knights behind her, fully clad in armor and shields, had assumed formation.

They were all players of the ‘Zion Guild’ who had completed their class change to Priests or Paladins.

“Everything was as Mr. Jinhyuk said.”

From deliberately showing Lee Taemin’s drone to awaken the alertness of Michael.

To making the enemy notice the betrayal of the Ice Trolls.

Every step was a hint from Jinhyuk.

‘There’s no player surpassing Mr. Jinhyuk.’

Frankly, it was chilling.

He had designed the intricate situation and factored in all the variables, leading to this moment.

With an arrogance only the world’s strongest could hold, the large guilds were on a completely different level.

That is why Teresa was more convinced by this event.

If there was one person to trust and follow, it was just him.

Swoosh! Clank!

All the minions simultaneously drew their weapons.

“The filthy Paladins…”

“Darn it! We’re completely surrounded!”

“Ophelia! Orders!”

Surroundings became chaotic instantly.

The formation gathered to maximize mana was unwittingly perfect for the Zion Guild’s encirclement.

[Teresa activates her unique ability ‘Star’s Blessing!’]

Whooosh!

The sword flared with a shining radiance.

“Surrender and lay down your arms now, and we’ll spare your lives.”

There was no way for Ophelia and the minions to turn the situation around after having spent over half their mana.

“It seems we’re truly at a disadvantage this time.”

Ophelia exhaled softly.

They needed time to recover mana, but the enemy wouldn’t provide that luxury.

In other words, this battle was essentially over.

Now the focus was solely on retreating and minimizing damage as much as possible.

“We will not allow you to escape.”

Teresa’s blade surged even more fiercely.

“Let’s see… Can you really catch me?”

“That’s something to be seen.”

“If you want to try, go ahead. But let me tell you one thing before playing hide-and-seek.”

Ophelia hesitated, about to turn away.

Then, her lips twisted subtly.

“Michael also foresaw that such a situation could arise.”

This wasn’t a lament or a desperate struggle.

At this moment.

The sky began to darken ominously.

***

[The 7th Tier activates the ‘Weather Transmutation’.]

As the status window turned red, the once clear sky distorted into black.

Rumble Rumble!

A fierce blizzard limited visibility to an extreme.

Naturally, the drones that had been surveying everything from the air became useless.

“Brother!”

Lee Taemin screamed out urgently.

He wanted to alert that the enemy’s approach was now undetectable.

Of course, Jinhyuk also sensed the rapidly changing situation.

‘So, this is how it’s going to be.’

Jinhyuk moistened his lower lip with his tongue.

As soon as Teresa scored one on the enemy, an even greater retaliation followed.

To exert restraint capable of changing the entire Tier’s weather meant that a formidable amount of coins was spent interfering with the Tower’s system.

‘Wonder how many high-level ingredient items were used, can’t even imagine.’

I knew that big families were rich, but at this level, it was a completely different level of splurge.

“The drones had a radius of about 15km, so the enemy might reach us in less than 10 minutes.”

“It won’t be 10 minutes.”

Jinhyuk caught a sensation.

Multiple mana reactions converging much faster than running speeds.

They would arrive much sooner than what Taemin predicted.

There would be no time to prepare.

3 minutes… then just 1 minute.

In an instant, the fluttering branches intersected with the vanishing time.

“They’re coming!”

Jinhyuk gripped his dagger tightly.

At that moment.

“Growl!”

“Roar!”

Beastly howls echoed from all directions.

Dire Wolves.

And not wild ones, but tamed beasts.

Wolves boasting 3 meter stature and grey claws showed off their might.

Scanning with ‘Predatory Eyes’, I found their individual levels were over 40.

However, more troublesome than the Dire Wolves were the vampire minions riding on their backs.

Especially since the one leading them happened to be Lancelot, responsible for the Round Table.

“Since the asylum, seeing you again after a long time, I shall ensure we finish what we couldn’t in the arena.”

“Didn’t you fail when you threw me in jail? How do you plan to finish it now?”

‘Was that a passivity skill called Complacency?’ What else could I think?

If that wasn’t so high-school-ish.

Why bother with all this effort now when you could have tried harder back then?

“I see your knack for mocking is unchanged. It’s nearly in the realm of talent.”

“It’s the only constant, that’s why.”

That’s why I chose BJ as my vocation.

Otherwise, I would have started looking for something else long ago.

Jinhyuk kept talking while subtly shifting his weight backward.

Likewise, Lee Taemin and Yu Yeonhwa began to step back as if they were waiting for the signal.

“If you’re waiting for the players at the rear, it’s in vain. We’ve already dealt with that outpost.”

Hosenbelt, not Lancelot, opened his mouth.

“What?”

“Could it be…?”

Lee Taemin and Yu Yeonhwa’s pupils shook violently.

The last secret card up their sleeve was an ambush prepared about 500 meters from here.

Not only the players from the Tangun Guild but also the mana turrets, claymores, mines, and more, which Taemin had poured all his mana into making, were positioned everywhere.

If only they could fully entice the enemy and concentrate their firepower, they might turn the tide. But now…

…Even that plan had been read.

“It’s really thorough. Was this also thought up by one of the higher-ups of the Decasus Household?”

“That’s right.”

“…That’s really someone I’d rather not deal with again.”

Jinhyuk swallowed dryly.

But it was only for a moment.

Nod.

The moment Jinhyuk exchanged glances with Lee Taemin and Yu Yeonhwa, he chose to flee.

“I’ve already told you? We’ve taken care of all the players on your end.”

With the Weather Transmutation’s effects dying down, escaping into the blizzard was no longer an option.

However.

“I know that too.”

Jinhyuk continued in the same even voice, adding his final words.

***

‘Dire Wolves in pursuit and now deciding to flee? Foolish…’

Hosenbelt smirked briefly before cocking his head slightly.

Their direction of escape was wrong.

It wasn’t towards the set traps but in a completely different direction.

‘Another trap?’

It occurred to him for a second, but the likelihood was slim.

Without the Tangun Guild, they had no cards left.

‘The saint would buy time for Ophelia and the Ice Trolls aren’t an issue. Bertillon will deal with them after annihilating Tangun Guild.’

Regardless of how he saw it, there was no room for variables.

“Proceed with pursuit.”

“Yes!”

At the command, the Dire Wolves kicked off the ground.

How long had they run?

The forest cleared and a broad, snow-covered plain opened up.

Just a bit more, and we could cut off the trio’s escape, laid out in plain sight.

Almost there.

Just one step to go.

But then.

Something appeared over the hill, and just by seeing it, even Hosenbelt couldn’t help but be totally bewildered.

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