Solo Max Level Newbie Chapter 232

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Solo Max-Level Newbie

Chapter 232: Each’s Choice (1)

Fizzt, fizzt!

Light converged into a single point.

[Activation of ‘Ashelian’s Holy Spear’ commences!]

When the overlaid mana merged into one, the form of the arrow had already transcended the conventional range of an arrow.

Windows shattered in its wake…

Boom!

A line of light struck the flame skeleton’s skull exactly.

A severe gale arose from the shockwave.

Rumble, rumble, rumble!

The ground was torn like rags.

The shredded clouds scattered in ripples.

It was a blow of absurd power to call it just an arrow shot.

But still.

“Grrrr…”

It hit bang on, yet not even a single crack formed on the bone.

‘Really disgustingly sturdy.’

Even if it had been Ograkun he had faced before, he wouldn’t have been safe if he took ‘Ashelian’s Holy Spear,’ concocted from three skills, head-on.

There was a downside of it taking a long time to prepare…

But this very skill could lay low even giants or large species in a single strike.

However, it was different for the nobility of the upper demons.

‘This won’t be enough.’

Even applying more mana, such an attack wouldn’t cause a fatal wound.

However many times it was repeated, the result would likely be the same.

It was in that moment.

Vroooom!

A massive arm drilled into the fortress walls with a swoop.

Most were agile enough to dodge, but one person was caught.

The weakest martial artist.

“Aaagh!”

There was no being that could withstand the fearsome heat over a thousand degrees.

Before his scream could spread, he was engulfed in flames and disappeared.

A force formidable enough to render protective spirits meaningless.

If caught even once, it spelled certain death.

At that moment.

“Prioritize killing that monster over the empire’s dogs!”

“Show these remnants of the Murim what imperial majesty means!”

Suddenly, orders to attack were issued from knights and martial artists on both sides.

Even the most foolish wouldn’t think to throw themselves at it after seeing this unfold.

This was refreshing in a different sense.

As Jinhyuk was about to click his tongue in disbelief.

‘Hmm, what’s that?’

Something caught his eye.

A Titan.

No, not an ordinary Titan.

A Titan sculpted like a sleek leopard was a kind the empire had never shown before.

Baek Seol-ryun had also drawn her blade, with both the blade and hilt shimmering in white.

The ice-cold machination forged from millennium-aged metal exuded icy frigidity.

Indeed, not all were fools.

At least they had something up their sleeves capable of creating variables, even if not exact equals.

It seemed the mighty forces kept hidden cards after all.

And looking at that…

‘It’s possible?’

An amusing idea occurred to me.

Perhaps the fact that the Mind sought this place out would turn out to be a significant advantage.

Now… What was that combination formula again?

It had been constructed so long ago that my memory was a little foggy on it.

After a brief contemplation, Jinhyuk nodded slightly.

[The coin exchange is now open.]

The all-encompassing coin shop.

Jinhyuk sorted through numerous listings, compiling his shopping list.

[Sokcheon’s Sewer Rat Front Leg × 1: 500 coins]

[13th Floor ‘Mist Mountains’ Pack of Vapor: 1,250 coins]

[King Ghoul’s Blood 5ml: 30,000 coins]

[Lament of the Condemned: 750 coins]

The common point between the items he just bought was…

They all amplify the demonic energy carried within one’s body.

Especially if these four types of items were used simultaneously, the user’s demonic energy would temporarily increase nearly twofold.

Of course, that wasn’t all.

Jinhyuk gathered a black mana at his fingertips.

[Unique Ability ‘Blood Magic’ is activated.]

Sticky, ominous power imbued with the attributes of darkness.

Concentrated mana irresistible and provoking to demon kind, akin to an appetizing scent.

Gulp!

Ebony mists continuously poured forth and fluttered.

‘This should rival even high-ranking necromancers’ demonic energy.’

Not for combat, but purely to declare its existence.

And that power…

Was enough to draw the attention of other beings below the ground.

“Kiiee…”

“Keeek!”

A massive crack formed as the flame skeleton’s upper half burst through, rending the earth.

Many damned beasts dwelling in the demon realm reacted to the intoxicating mana seeping from outside.

Thud, thud, thud!

Along with the sound of something climbing the walls…

“Kill… kill… kill!”

“Sweet flesh. Blood. Heeeek. I want to eat…!”

“Hehehe!”

Monstrosities too alien to belong to this world began to crawl out.

A creature with slick skin devoid of eyes, nose, and mouth, with scythes where its hands should be, emerged first.

Next, a female beast with a grotesquely torn-open mouth dragged an axe larger than her own body.

There were also creatures that seemed a grotesque mix of spider and human, and creatures with jaws full of sharp teeth on their stomachs.

All of them bore horrific appearances.

Needless to say, their demonic energy was immensely potent, no need for further words.

“Who is the lunatic using dark attribute abilities instead of counteracting with opposing attributes?”

“Don’t they know demons are drawn to demonic energy? It’s common sense!”

“Damn! They just keep coming. If we stay here, we’ll all be slaughtered!”

A single flame skeleton was headache enough, but an endless line of infuriating monsters kept appearing.

The empire’s knights employed Titans to form protective formations, barely managing to respond.

Martial artists from Murim, in groups of ten or so, initiated their intercepting assaults.

Naturally, they didn’t forget to curse at the one wielding demonic energy.

Whether they cursed or not.

Jinhyuk continued to amplify his Blood Magic to summon increasingly stronger beasts.

‘This one won’t do. Hmm. That one’s not bad… but it’s slightly lacking.’

Fundamentally, demons are extremely sensitive to their territory.

If this were the demon realm rather than the mortal plane, they would’ve already been at each other’s throats in a frenzy.

However, since prey lay scattered about, they refrained from internecine strife.

‘Yes, that’s the general consensus.’

But there was an exception.

If not the ordinary prey, but extraordinarily delectable prey was available, demons would fight amongst themselves even in the mortal plane.

Indeed, driven by the alluring Blood Magic, some demons had attacked the flame skeleton and were crushed.

‘My job is to keep casting out bait until something that can deal with that skull-head appears.’

There’s no need to worry about the rank-and-file ones piling up.

The empire and Murim will hold them off somehow.

And after they’re all weakened at the end…

‘Experience points and items… it would be a veritable treasure trove.’

I thought the celebration for becoming a Castle Lord was a total disaster.

Almost failed to recognize a perfect hunting ground flowing with milk and honey.

Most of all, if I can get ‘that’ from the flame skeleton, nothing could be better.

Thump! Thump! Thump!

Jinhyuk’s heart started pounding rapidly with anticipation.

***

Vrum!

Blue energy surged alongside the sword’s blade.

Nangong Chun executed the secret technique directly inherited from the Nangong family.

Crash, crash, crash!

Swift blade.

The swift and sharp sword made mincemeat of the armored beast’s entire body.

“Kuooohhh!”

Although its hide was particularly tough, making it difficult to penetrate to the bone, it was sufficient to bring its balance to ruin.

As the beast staggered on one knee, the remaining martial artists swarmed like bees.

Neck, belly, heart.

They stabbed at anything that looked like a weak point.

“Keeek… Ack! Keeek!”

It took over a dozen people charging to finish off just one creature.

But before they could sigh in relief.

Thud!

“Ah… ah?”

The man on the far side’s body twisted grotesquely.

A transparent something had penetrated his waist and lifted him slowly into the air.

“Aaargh!”

“There’s something beside him!”

“What do you mean? I don’t see anything!”

“It’s an invisible creature. Don’t panic and follow it with your Qi. Feel it, don’t try to see it with your eyes!”

No matter how rigorous their training…

Under the pressure of unfamiliar phenomena, its effectiveness dulled.

Exalted masters and first-class warriors, nourished by various sects, lost their lives in the most futile ways.

“Dammit!”

Nangong Chun swore.

The casualties were spiraling out of control.

It made no difference that Baek Seol-ryun had brought the treasured blade forged from millennium-aged metal; it was meaningless against such numbers.

If it continued this way, they would all meet their end here.

Just then.

Someone entered Nangong Chun’s field of vision.

Standing silently at the window above was their sworn enemy.

‘Could it be…?’

Nangong Chun’s face distorted ferociously as he sensed the pouring demonic energy.

It was certain.

The one relentlessly summoning demons from the rift was that damned fiend.

‘I don’t know what game he’s playing, but it’s his loss.’

If he could kill Jinhyuk amidst this chaos, there’d be no reason to grovel or be subservient.

In fact, with all eyes and efforts scattered, now might be the opportunity.

Having decided, Nangong Chun vanished like the wind.

With a light touch.

Swiftly.

He closed the distance in the blink of an eye and swung his sword at Jinhyuk.

Or at least, he tried to.

The moment the blade sliced horizontally, someone interjected like a bolt of lightning.

Clang!

Sparks flew from the clash of metal, scattering around them.

“You are…!”

Nangong Chun’s eyes narrowed bitterly.

Blocking his path was the man who had been by Jinhyuk’s side within the fortress.

Wolyeong.

“Ridiculous. Judging from the technique and form of your sword energy, you’re not a player but a martial artist, aren’t you?”

“That’s correct.”

“Then why are you siding with him? Are you planning to betray the Murim?”

Betrayal…

At the word fallen from Nangong Chun’s lips, Wolyeong let out a self-deprecating laugh.

A laugh as though chastising himself.

“Yes, I have betrayed.”

The one who treated him warmly despite being raised as a cold-blooded assassin his whole life.

The one who vowed not to discard any of them, even when it was natural for them to be used and thrown away.

He had betrayed that person.

And yet.

Even after his betrayal was known.

That person did not blame him.

Did not even try to question the reasons or hear excuses.

Instead, they simply welcomed him back with the same smile as always.

A spectacular radiance settled on Wolyeong’s sword.

Fizzt, fizzt!

Brighter than ever, the light blazed along the blade.

“My name is Wolyeong (月影).”

Concealed by the bright moon.

A being permitted existence only in the shadows.

“I am the shadow serving my lord.”

He had already made a mistake once.

And never again…

[Unique Ability ‘Shadow Assassination (陰影亟殺)’ manifests.]

…would he repeat the same mistake.

“Nobody shall pass this point.”

The shadow had fully blossomed.

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