Solo Max Level Newbie Chapter 184

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Chapter 184: Alliance of Two Tiers (2)

With a mere height of one meter, there stood a small-statured Dwarf—an insignificantly frail figure known as ‘Kaman’ from the ‘Masquerade’. I knew him to be a lower-level administrator whom I had encountered at the event. Rumor had it that he was demoted after siding with Jinhwak and getting demolished by the superior administrator, Hasting. Imagine my surprise at his appearance here.

‘Interesting.’

I could roughly guess what brought him. With his manager career at a dead end, he likely thought to seize the opportunity to join forces with the 8th and 9th floor’s monsters and grab a share of… power, perhaps?

“Nice to meet you, Player Unknown.”

Kaman initiated the conversation, his tone devoid of hostility.

‘Right, he saw my face without the mask at the ball.’

Had he seen the real me under the mask, I would’ve been met with magic, not words. But for the moment, no such hostility was presented.

“Do you know me well?”

“Ho-ho-ho. How could I not recognize a prominent ranker among players? It’s only natural that I did my research.”

“Your words flatter me. Then, are you representing the 9th floor’s monsters to negotiate with me?”

“That’s correct. Hmm, how should I put it? Think of my presence here as our mutual effort to bring about the best outcome for both parties, without letting the situation get too messy.”

‘The best outcome he says…’

It’s the same subtle threat he used at the masquerade. But, does he truly realize?

Both before and now.

No matter how skillfully he plays his games, he will be the one to shatter.

“Enough chitchat. Tell me why you’ve come here. Your presence implies that you have a proposition, correct?”

“You’re not one for idle talk. Very well. I offer you a single proposal: cease wielding your pickaxe in turmoil and follow me obediently.”

“That proposal isn’t the least bit tempting.”

“Isn’t it your goal to kill the bosses that oversee the levels? The very ones you seek await you where I lead. Besides.”

A sinister smile creased Kaman’s lips—and simultaneously.

“This is not a request or a plea.”

With a snap of his fingers, a massive screen materialized before us.

“Spare us!”

“Help, please… anyone!”

Screens of monsters executing humans in various horrendous ways unfolded before our eyes. Amongst the missing players who fell to the labyrinth, I recognized some trying to escape just moments ago—members of the Freedman and Lockhead guilds.

Lizardmen swinging swords at unarmed men. Goblins tossing daggers at women tied to poles, relishing their twisted game. A coliseum where survivors and monsters bet on who would last the longest.

Blood, screams, and the convergence of life and death.

It was, in essence, hell.

“You…”

My voice dropped to an icy timbre.

“Ho-ho-ho. Don’t glare as if you could kill me. My position is not so lowly that a mere human can threaten me.”

“How dare you insolently wag your tongue at the Lord! I’ll rip it right out!”

Wolyeong stepped forward, a foreboding aura of death erupting from her. Any affront to Jinyuk was to insult the Dark Emperor himself. Unaware of Kaman’s true identity, she was poised to strike him down in one swift cut.

“Wait.”

“But, my Lord!”

“I said wait. There’s no need for you to act; I will personally tear out his tongue.”

I stepped forward, the omens of danger I radiated were so intense that Wolyeong instinctively recoiled. Even Melena swallowed nervously and stepped back, despite her long acquaintance with me, this was her first time witnessing such fury.

Zap! Zap! Zap!

Electric currents of mana crawled over my skin, inducing nausea merely by proximity.

“Ha-ha-ha! Terrifying as always. Indeed, fitting for the most outstanding among humans. Honestly, it’s a little scary.”

“We’ll see how long your smirks last.”

Sssst!

My ‘Moon-covering Claws’ manifested, and my hand bore dark, energy-infused talons.

“You’d be wise to consider, if you attack me, it will take you much longer to reach them. You’ll also miss the chance to save your peers.”

Kaman’s words froze my hand mid-air. Defiantly following orders only puts me at a disadvantage. Wasting time on the way to the bosses and abandoning those captured, I risked ruin to my reputation.

A strategic impasse—neither choice readily serves my purpose.

Grinding my teeth, I ultimately resolved.

“Alright. I’ll follow.”

“A wise choice,” Kaman smirked, believing he’d anticipated my compliance.

“…Thought so?”

In a flash, I grabbed Kaman by the throat.

Crack!

An unmistakable sound of breaking resonated as the grip of my formidable power took hold. Kaman reflexively cast a shield, but it was insufficient against my strength.

“What are you…!”

“Didn’t take the hint, did you? I thought I told you to shut up.”

Vwooom!

Boom!

Lifting Kaman high, I slammed him down into the ground; the impact shattered the earth beneath us.

“Ah!”

The anguished scream tore from his lungs. Novel pain overtook him—pain previously unknown, sending him into uproarious shouts. It was, to no surprise, for who would dare lay hands on an administrator? Especially one who had returned their artifacts due to disciplinary sanctions; a huge factor in the one-sided conflict. But above all, it was complacency bred from arrogance that led to his downfall.

“This… you can’t do this and live…”

“You’ve been doing fine. Besides, you should be worried about yourself, not others.”

Relentlessly, I repeated the motion.

His body soared, then mercilessly smashed back into the ground.

Boom!

Blood jetted from his nose and mouth.

“Stop, no more!”

Boom!

“Gah! Cough!”

Bang! Bang! Boom!

A limp figure, shivering limbs.

No trace of the once dignified and composed administrator remained—just a rodent cowering in fear. The true terror was yet to abate; the worst was merely unfolding.

[Your unique ability ‘Blessing of the Stars’ activates.]

A celestial energy seeped into Kaman’s body.

[The targeted wounds slowly begin to heal.]

[Due to a lack of proficiency in the unique ability, complete recovery is impossible.]

His broken nose reassembled, and the blood ceased its flow.

Considering the earlier disaster, he appeared nearly mended.

“What is this?”

Despair flooded his eyes; the sacred light meant to heal became the most cursed sight in this moment.

“We’re just getting started.”

“No, wait! I’ll talk!”

“Not yet. You had the chance and stayed silent. At least one more cycle is due. After that, you may speak.”

The relentless assault resumed.

Boom!

“Agh!”

Unsparing, each strike hammered relentlessly. Kaman’s first impressions at the masquerade had been bad enough. But toying with players’ lives as a source of amusement and using it for blackmail sealed his fate as a terrible move.

Thump! Thump!

After a hellish minute, a second chance presented itself to Kaman. Now, he didn’t dare meet my eyes.

Whispering close, I muttered, “Open the gate to those monsters. And think carefully before responding. Any hint of refusal or impossibility, and it’ll be your last word.”

No joke. Though a nuisance, I had anticipated several locations of substantial forces.

“Will you spare me if I tell? Save me?”

“Luckily, I’m not interested in your life. Based on your actions, I might let you live.”

“The gate… I’ll open it. Right now.”

Frantically nodding, Kaman swiftly activated the gate.

Woo-ooong!

A dazzling portal exclusive to administrators appeared.

Sensing familiar magic from the other side, there were still more survivors than casualties.

‘I need to hurry.’

Time was running out.

Discarding Kaman, I stepped through the gate.

“Escort the Lord in formation!”

“Sigh, why does everything keep getting more complicated…”

Wolyeong and Melena followed.

Lastly.

“Let’s go.”

“Okay!”

“We must listen to Master.”

Leaving the carriage behind, the spirit trees trotted onward.

***

As my vision cleared, the landscape had changed entirely.

A vast expanse big enough to house ten World Cup stadiums lay before me, brimming with innumerable monsters.

Thud! Thud! Thud!

The drumbeats pierced the eardrums.

The thick scent of blood invaded the nostrils.

This was the heart of the labyrinth; a gathered force of the combined layers.

“So terribly numerous…”

Even Melena showed trepidation. Wolyeong was equally tense.

“There are many of them. We must secure our retreat first, lest we’re surrounded and escape becomes difficult,” she advised.

“Wolyeong.”

I spoke softly.

“Yes, my Lord.”

“Who am I?”

“The esteemed disciple of the Dark Emperor and the cornerstone of Cheonmashin’s revival.”

“Then, do you think mere monsters can best me?”

The word ‘mere’ hung heavy in the air. What being, even the mighty martial world of the 20th tier, could face such a multitude of middling monsters so casually? Moreover, these were enhanced by red sigils, gain the protection of boss monsters.

“Wolyeong.”

I spoke again.

“Yes… Yes!”

“Listen well; I will say this once.”

It’s not my style to repeat myself.

“No matter the situation, trust and follow me. Then we will all survive this ordeal.”

“All of us… even us?”

“Yes. As long as I lead, no one dies.”

I had walked the path of the shadow blade all my life; a sword that could be discarded at any moment—this was the fate of a martial world’s hidden weapon. In crises, it was expected to be used and to die for its master. But then…

‘What’s with him?’

Thump! Thump! Thump!

Wolyeong’s heart quickened.

A long-dormant principle within seemed to stir for the first time in her cold, mechanical life.

“Your response?”

“…I obey.”

I had only to follow, leading the way forward.

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