Solo Max Level Newbie Chapter 267

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Solo Max-Level Newbie

Chapter 267: Introduction to Barrier Studies (1)

Their gazes intersected.

Jinhyuk clenched his teeth tightly.

To meet the conditions of copying, he had to rely solely on ‘curses’ and ‘barriers’.

The battle from this point on would require a different approach than before.

Just then, the Witch of Lamentation shifted her attention to the end of the ruins.

“So, that’s why you’re so cocksure. You were counting on all those scrubs you brought with you?”

“Scrubs? What are you talking about?”

“Don’t play dumb. I’ve spotted about twenty humans by the entrance.”

Twenty people who could come here… Could it be?

A thought flashed through Jinhyuk’s mind.

The force that had yet to appear in this raid.

‘The Dangun Guild.’

He thought they had sided with Gandala and Main, but it seemed they had kicked that offer to the curb.

He had assumed that all the large guilds were blinded by personal gain, using any means necessary, but it seemed there were still decent people around.

If only they had managed their surprise attack without being detected, he would have been truly pleased.

Damn it.

Dark fluids began to gather around the Witch of Lamentation.

She was about to activate her worst skill ‘Black Tears’.

This was dangerous.

“Everyone’s been spotted! Get to safety!”

Jinhyuk yelled.

At the same time.

Boom! Boom! Boom!

The dark wave surged toward the entrance.

“Ugh… Ugh?”

“Bro, bro, something’s coming!”

“Damn it. They’ve caught on to our magic-canceling skill.”

“Form up! Turn on all survival skills!”

Screams erupted from the Dangun Guild hiding behind the monster statues.

Park Jung-jin, who was at the lead, thrust forward a shield that shone with dazzling light.

[Park Jung-jin activates his unique ability ‘Holy Binding’!]

A golden shield formed around the entire assault team, completely covering them.

Boom!

As the black wave and the holy shield collided, multicolored sparks flew in all directions.

“That was close.”

Park Jung-jin breathed a sigh of relief.

“Abandon the shield!”

“Jinhyuk Player? Abandon the shield, what do you mean?”

“Get rid of it now!”

‘Black Tears’ wasn’t just blocked; it truly manifested its worth upon contact.

Tssss!

Its unique power transformed anything it touched.

Among curses, ‘Black Tears’ was one of the most alien.

[‘Black Tears’ has permeated the shield.]

[The shield is contaminated!]

Contact with a living being caused frenzy, hallucination, or mutation.

Contact with inanimate objects produced unpredictable variables.

Truly unforeseeable.

The impact of this ability was on a different level from other powers.

Even the Witch of Lamentation herself couldn’t control it perfectly.

“Kyaaa!”

The shield cracked open, violently convulsing.

Sharp teeth and oozing black liquid were expelled, no different from a monster.

“This can’t be happening.”

Park Jung-jin was so shocked that he tossed the shield aside.

An ability that infused life into items.

Though Park Jung-jin thought he had witnessed all sorts of powers, he had never encountered such grotesque ones before.

Moreover, a female player who had caught a single drop of tear on her skin twisted her body in agony.

“Aargh… Eek!”

“Song Yi, snap out of it. Bro, we can’t let it touch us. It’s like some zombie virus that turns people into something else!”

“Damn… So we can neither block it nor dodge it?”

An outrageous ability.

If not even holy powers could block it, it meant no other ability could counter it.

The advantage of surprise had been lost, and the limited space to escape turned numerical superiority into a weakness.

Amidst the panic,

“Tristan.”

The Witch of Lamentation looked at Main beside her.

“Command me.”

“Deal with the nuisances. And don’t forget to cut off the air of the three humans you dealt with earlier; they seem to have recovered.”

Maria, Yu Yeonhwa, and Lee Taemin had finished preparing to fight once again.

They had consumed the magic recovery potions Jinhyuk had distributed and recuperated.

“Hmm. Surely you don’t mean for me to handle them all by myself?”

“Kukuk. Would I send you alone? I’ll provide you with strong backup. No need to worry too much. Just make sure to finish the job properly. He might be a bit dim, though.”

It wasn’t just the shield and players that had been infected by the ‘Black Tears’.

The reason they had brought various monsters’ statues here.

It was for this very purpose.

[The sleeping monster statues awaken!]

Crack! Crack!… Boom!

“Roaaaar!”

“Screaaam!”

A vast number of powerful monsters reared up, their eyes gleaming with fury.

Ogres, trolls, lizardmen, and manticore, among others.

Each powerful named creature, specially selected and gathered by the Witch of Lamentation.

“Ugh…”

Park Jung-jin bit his lower lip.

He had come here to aid Jinhyuk, but now, he was bound from behind without having provided any significant assistance.

“Bro, Bro.”

“We have to stall for time at least. We shouldn’t become a hindrance.”

If they faced the monsters, that would allow Jinhyuk to focus on his one-on-one battle with the boss.

Even that was reason enough to come here.

‘We can hold out as long as possible if we can join those three over there.’

With Lee Taemin’s drones, Yu Yeonhwa’s tanking, and Maria’s firepower, they wouldn’t be easily overwhelmed, even by mid-tier monsters.

Their deliberation was brief.

“We’ll break through to that spot. I will lead the way, the rest of you cover the flanks.”

“Damn. Thought you said you’d lead us down a path of flowers.”

“If we die, I’ll become a bachelor ghost and haunt you. Remember that, I haven’t even gotten married yet.”

***

“Do the other humans worry you?”

The Witch of Lamentation spoke.

“Not really. They can all take care of themselves.”

“Fufu. Despite that, you seem quite anxious. But calm yourself. All the ones who have come here will soon meet in the afterlife.”

“Sorry, but I’m from a Confucian background. I’ll be sending our elders off first, in line with long-established traditions.”

“Truly, you and your viewers know how to get under one’s skin. Just because you’ve defeated an apostle, do you really think you can kill me as well? Are you serious?”

“If I wasn’t sure I could handle you, I wouldn’t have come all this way.”

Jinhyuk shrugged his shoulders.

“Fine… Let’s see if you can withstand my first move. Just try not to be too disappointing.”

With a motion, an old arm moved to the left.

[The curse ‘Blood Melting’ is activated!]

A pentagram formed under Jinhyuk’s feet.

A curse that turned all hemoglobin in the blood to liquid, amplified to its utmost potential by a 4-star ‘Amplification’ barrier.

[‘Contamination Stat’ enhances the effects of the curse and barrier by 30%!]

Including the effect of his unique stat was just a bonus.

“It’s too late now. You can neither escape nor defend.”

A sneer spread across the witch’s lips.

Whirr! A red glow flickered.

But then…

“Hmm?”

The Witch of Lamentation tilted her head, puzzled.

Clearly, the ritual had been successfully invoked, but the one who should be spewing blood from their eyes and mouth was still in perfect health.

…What’s going on?

It didn’t take long for her to realize the terrible truth of her ominous hunch.

Could it be…

“You broke my spell… as soon as you saw the pattern?”

It was unbelievable.

To analyze and understand a spell that could be arranged in thousands, if not tens of thousands of combinations, in a mere instant?

Even the most worn-out witches would prepare defensive barriers in advance instead of allowing an attack and then disarming it afterwards.

It was far too risky.

“Don’t be ridiculous! Reading a few pages in a book means you understand my simple techniques?”

“If you were bothered, should’ve arranged a better combination? You made it easy to read by using a 4-star barrier.”

An ethereal light bloomed from Jinhyuk’s shoulder.

Ancient runes blossomed, proudly displaying their beauty.

“An inscription… of some sort. So you’re a barrier master, then. Yes. That’s why you’re so arrogant.”

“Hoho. It seems your eyes aren’t just holes in the head, after all.”

Even though it seemed she didn’t understand it was the Lunarian’s engraving.

Just realizing it was related to a barrier master was impressive.

“Not completely green then. Alright. If you have some superficial barrier knowledge, let me raise the difficulty for you.”

The Witch of Lamentation now moved both hands.

Whoosh!

Runes overlaid the pentagram as three additional barriers stretched alongside it.

Utilizing both hands increased computation speed and the finality of her spells manifold.

“Even if you are a full-time barrier sage, you won’t live to escape from here.”

Roar!

The entire ruins trembled.

The blended miasma of magic and curses burned the skin.

Indeed…

To deploy high-order spells through multi-calculations, the witch deserved to be called a witch, Jinhyuk thought.

He wondered how skilled one must be to perform such feats.

Of course.

To someone who could already gaze down upon such a level… it was merely impressive.

Then, suddenly.

A crack formed at the center of the pentagram, the core of the runes.

“What, what’s this?”

Confident of victory, the Witch of Lamentation’s eyes bulged in disbelief.

[‘The Mark of the Moon’ blooms.]

Crack! Crack!

The three barriers shattered like glass windows.

“Didn’t I say? Put up a stronger barrier if you want a fight.”

From behind Jinhyuk, barriers began to appear one after the other, in the shape of hexagrams.

Three… Four… Five.

The number of barriers reached ten, and the Witch of Lamentation’s jaw dropped in shock.

“I told you to go all out.”

Jinhyuk snapped his fingers.

***

Whirr!

Now, unfamiliar runes formed beneath the feet of the Witch of Lamentation.

Similar to the earlier pentagram.

“This little thing…!”

The barrier’s constitution was not impressive.

The curse was insignificant compared to the previous ones.

If she, a member of the Great Witches’ Council, wanted… she could pulverize such a low-level trick in an instant!

But then.

“…What?”

Boom!

Before she could analyze the structure of the spell, a massive explosion occurred.

“Cough! Cough! Cough!”

The Witch of Lamentation stumbled out amidst the smoke, her composure lost to confusion.

Why? How?

How could she have failed to recognize the basic connections of the spell structure?

That’s when she heard a sly voice from behind.

“Once again, it’s not about how many stars the barrier has or how powerful the curse you mix in is.”

It’s all about the combination.

Even the most trivial and low-tier barrier or curse, when matched with the right one, could produce greater power.

“If you want a real fight with me, bring out the ‘Black Tears’. Otherwise, we have no story.”

“Yeek! How dare you lecture me? There’s no need to bring out ‘Black Tears’. I can tear you apart with my bare skills!”

[The curse ‘Quartering’ is activated!]

[The 7-star barrier ‘Proliferation’ is activated!]

Numerous runes adorn the sky.

Red pentagrams spread chaotically.

As oppressing as the ten barriers Jinhyuk just unfolded were, what the witch summoned now exceeded that by thirty times.

It was enough to change the color of the sky itself.

“…Magnificent.”

Jinhyuk murmured his admiration.

Witnessing such an array of brilliant, numerous small barriers wasn’t an everyday sight.

“Heavy breathing. Heh… Kukukuk! See! This is me! I am the one granted the title ‘Witch of Lamentation’ by the Council of Great Witches!”

She erupted into a maniacal cackle.

“Die writhing in agony, young barrier master. This is the gap between a great witch and a milk-smelling fledgling.”

Her hand rose.

The runes prepared to unleash their brilliance.

But just then.

[The 9-star barrier ‘Ecliptic Twelve Zodiacs, the Scorpion’s Barrier’ is activated.]

[The 4-star barrier ‘High-Speed Replacement’ is activated.]

Suddenly, one of the red pentagrams turned blue.

This phenomenon occurred only when new magic intervened.

It meant the owner of the spell had changed.

Soon, as if contagious, the red cloak of the sky began to fade to blue.

“No… way. It’s impossible. This… This can’t happen…”

The computation speed was… impossibly fast.

Whether curses, barriers, or a combination of both into more complex spells.

Each activation was being instantly neutralized.

And so.

The countless red pentagrams turning into countless blue hexagrams…

It was beyond words, beyond the term “magnificent.”

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