Solo Max Level Newbie Chapter 268

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Solo Max-Level Newbie

Chapter 268: Introduction to Barrier Theory (2)

The Zodiac of the Yellow Path (黃道十二宮).

A secret technique that reproduces the twelve constellations considered the essence of a barrier master.

Having yet to acquire the ‘Lost Language,’ I could only imitate the formations, yet…

The majesty of the Scorpio constellation, dyeing the sky blue, was enough to make one forget its fiery nature.

Woooong! Woooong!

Countless lights flickered beyond the Six Net Stars.

Like a heavenly punishment, a shower of blue meteors began to tear apart the area where the Wailing Witch resided.

Kwakwakwakwa!

The terrain changed.

Kwaang! Kwa-deuk!

“Kyeeee!”

“Kwaaaaa!”

Even the nearby monster statues were caught in its potency, surpassing imagination in power.

And, at the center of the storm, the Wailing Witch had to withstand the barrage with her bare body.

How many minutes had the onslaught continued?

When the meteor shower finally ceased, the state inside the ruins had significantly altered.

***

“Keugh… Kuaaaaa! My body. My body…”

Smoke rose from her ragged form.

That she could maintain her shape after such an onslaught was a surprise.

Right then.

“What’s that?”

Jinhyuk’s eyes narrowed.

A black liquid was seen surging and oozing around the witch’s body.

…It was ‘Black Tears.’

“So much for putting up a proud front but when it comes to survival, I suppose she had no choice?”

In the moment the last constellation exploded, the Black Tears must have offset the damage.

[A notification flashes: The Wailing Witch has activated her unique ability ‘Black Tears’!]

Kukukukuku!

The ability that had just terrorized the attack squad resurfaced.

“Kuk. To think I’d need to use full power on you. This is utterly humiliating.”

A dreadful ability, bringing unforeseeable consequences with mere contact.

Certainly, even an expert would find it dangerous to come into direct contact with the Black Tears.

‘I remember last time, I got covered in that stuff and lost my senses, charging into a dragon’s lair with nothing but bare flesh.’

A guildmate had taken Hechl as hostage… no, as dragon-bait, resulting in death.

There were records of being burnt at the stake after kidnapping a saint and disguising myself as a witch.

And plenty of other trials just to face the Black Tears.

‘But the conclusion was always one.’

Though I employed a different method rather than using barriers when I played the Tower of Trials, the core root was connected as one.

At that moment.

[The first verse of the ‘Demonic Fantasy Barrier,’ ‘Black Wave,’ is activated.]

Kukukukuku!

A massive wave began to overflow.

Instantly, the constellations of the Yellow Path darkened.

“Kuaaaa!”

“Kehek!”

Mouths with red lips and white teeth emerged on the surface of the barrier, emitting terrifying screams.

The barrier was mutating due to the Black Tears.

But, it only lasted a brief moment.

“Kikikiki!”

“Hihihi! Let’s devour it. Let’s gobble it up.”

The screams swiftly turned into sounds of laughter, transforming into a desire for prey.

Moreover, eyes nestled between those teeth began to show themselves one by one.

Really, disgustingly ominous.

Within the Tower of Trials, there weren’t many fellows who wielded such unpleasant abilities.

The eyes simultaneously focused in my direction.

…Here they come.

The ‘Moon’s Mark’ engraved on Jinhyuk’s shoulder shone brightly.

Ancient runes chaotically fortified the defense barrier.

“How foolish! You saw it yourself just a moment ago. That will not suffice!”

Kwaaaaaang!

The black mist shattered Jinhyuk’s barrier instantly.

The barriers that glowed blue were tainted black. Fresh eyes and mouths frantically screamed.

Yet.

The Wailing Witch, who had been smirking confidently, bit her lip.

“…What?”

Some of the barriers were not corrupted.

Almost all of the defense barriers were contaminated, yet some still shone blue, resisting fiercely.

It was impossible.

There was no known method to block Black Tears.

‘Too many facets to control, there must be one or two that slipped away.’

Besides, it hardly mattered.

The opponent was too busy trying to defend to focus on taking any further action.

Even that feeble resistance would soon come to an end…

…Or so she hoped to make Jinhyuk think carelessly.

The Wailing Witch glanced at Jinhyuk.

‘His face is one of unwavering resolve. No, it almost appears as if he has something up his sleeve.’

Small variables could lead to significant outcomes.

Especially against someone who had toyed with and destroyed the apostles she created.

Now cornered, even having to resort to Black Tears, it was not the time to be careless.

All this could be his staging ground for another plan.

‘Perhaps he’s planning to steal my barrier like before.’

The Black Tears moved three times faster and more intricately than ordinary magic, so such an event was unlikely, but the Wailing Witch was prepared for any possibility.

Then…

‘I’ll crush him with full power. One fatal blow to strike him where he’s vulnerable.’

The Wailing Witch gathered magic so subtly that Jinhyuk didn’t notice.

Kwaaaaaang! Kwang!

“Kikikiki!”

“Eat…! Gobble it up. Gobble it up!”

The purple eyes and white teeth continued to nibble away at Jinhyuk’s barriers.

The blue barriers were still barely protecting their owner. Despite the frailty of their defense, they did not lose their light.

Furthermore.

The number of barriers unaffected by mutation seemed to be increasing.

Her prediction wasn’t wrong.

Something was happening.

Before it was too late… she had to terminate it.

…Right now.

“Now!”

[The second verse of the ‘Demonic Fantasy Barrier,’ ‘Dream Flower,’ is activated!]

Underneath Jinhyuk’s feet.

Fwush!

The magic he had been gathering separately burst forth all at once.

The six black petals and the teeth sprouting within them… even if the prey was a large species, they were vast and sharp enough to engulf it.

“No matter what your plan was, I was superior. This is the end!”

The Dream Flower was a mental ability that induced hypnosis in the target.

Among the skills available through Black Tears, it was an ultimate move, boasting the fastest and most powerful effects.

The phrase ‘on another level’ seemed to exist for moments like this.

However, at that precise moment.

A shiver.

A cold chill ran down his spine.

Jinhyuk, who should be under hypnosis, was still smiling.

But the source of the coldness wasn’t just because the opponent was unaffected by hypnosis.

Eyes looked downward.

Below the witch’s feet… enormous pupils and white teeth revealed themselves.

“Im, impossible.”

Another Dream Flower had just finished blooming.

“How could you account for this as well…? That’s impossible. It’s an unknowable structure. You’ve even stolen mine…”

While speaking, the Wailing Witch realized something.

If he had stolen her barrier… why were there two Dream Flowers blooming here?

Underneath his feet was still her flower, pouring magic to cast hypnosis.

Enduring it without any trouble and creating another flower meant…

It was more than just a simple theft.

“You, you’ve grasped the flow of magic in the Black Tears itself?”

He had thoroughly pierced through its very foundation.

To that remark, Jinhyuk shrugged nonchalantly.

“I’m not as accomplished in high-level barriers and curses as you. And certainly not skilled enough to handle them perfectly. To be honest, my level is embarrassingly incomparable.”

He had simply led the fight to his advantage by striking weak points and leveraging the right circumstances. It was impossible for him to surpass the knowledge accumulated by the Wailing Witch.

However, there was one thing.

If there was a reason for his confidence in victory, it was because he had no fear in learning and seeing new things.

For 11 years, he chose experimentation over complacency.

Walking paths others had not trodden, enjoying the process, he naturally understood.

He found the destinations at the end of each path and their shortest routes.

“Audacious. You speak as though you’re a genius.”

“Oh. You’ve completely misunderstood me. If I were a genius, I would have succeeded in everything at once. Those guys generate ten results with one effort. And even a single result from one effort was tough for me.”

The reality was, he had put in countless efforts.

Tens of thousands of efforts to produce tens of thousands of outcomes.

“Purely by chance… Purely coincidentally, I became a barrier master. It all happened because your profession wasn’t any different.”

The Wailing Witch stood, veins bulging in anger.

“Well…”

This time, he felt hard-pressed to agree.

“If I had chosen my original profession, surely you wouldn’t have been able to meet my gaze.”

He chose the barrier master out of interest, but if he climbed the tower again with the profession he had back then? Having addressed all past errors and weaknesses?

There was no point in prolonging the discussion.

Without this long conversation, the witch’s head would have long been rolling on the ground.

“You’ve chosen a different profession before? What do you mean?”

The Wailing Witch asked, but Jinhyuk didn’t answer.

Instead, he intensified his magic, signaling the end of the fight.

“Thank you for giving me a new kind of fight. It made me even more attached to being a barrier master.”

The petals slowly converged to one point.

The sight darkened.

“Just, wait! Aren’t you interested in the truth about barriers? If you spare me, I can take you to the Great Witch Council. I can tell you truths about this world that you can’t even imagine!”

The Wailing Witch reached out between the leaves.

Her desiccated arm flailed desperately.

“Sorry, but I’ve been there already, and it was nothing special.”

The petals completely closed in.

Crunch! Crack!

“Aaaaahhhhh!”

Red blood spouted out like a waterfall through the cracks.

Thud.

Only a single arm that had reached out remained.

***

“Figures…”

The sound of footsteps was heard just then.

“You’re beyond reach for the Wailing Witch, it seems. I did have a bit of hope, but unfortunately, it’s over now.”

Tristan, who should have been engaging the Stone Guild, was suddenly standing beside him.

“If you leave your post, won’t the rest of the statues collapse in no time? Or, since the witch is dead, it’s only a matter of time anyway.”

“Heh heh. The witch is dead, you say?”

Tristan chuckled.

Then approached the severed arm.

“You see, witches have quite resilient life forces. Even if only an arm remains like this.”

Squish.

Tristan calmly stepped on the arm.

Then,

“Aaaack!”

A sharp scream echoed.

“Just like this, survival is possible. Naturally, regenerating the body will take time, but life can be saved.”

“This… this damn traitor! Why have you exposed my hiding place!”

The Wailing Witch, unable to fathom the treachery of an ally, could only rage in anger.

However, Jinhyuk was equally baffled by Tristan’s actions.

“You… Why did you betray the witch? Without her help, survival is near impossible for you.”

“Hmm. To answer that question, I must first inquire something. Mr. Jinhyuk, what do you think this place is?”

“Not a fan of riddles… Just answer my question, will you?”

“Indulge me and think about it just this once.”

Tristan smiled faintly.

Suddenly, the smile seemed ominous; the brightness of it momentarily instilling fear.

The reason why Tristan suddenly betrayed the Wailing Witch… the true nature of the Tomb of the Anti-Christ, and the conditions that bound it.

Clues began to converge.

“…”

Jinhyuk’s expression changed.

A seemingly trivial question, but the answer was far from trivial.

“…A Devil Santifying Place.”

This place.

The Tomb of the Anti-Christ.

A place where demons could be materialized.

“You got it exactly right.”

Magic erupted.

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