Sungchul remembered Dalphain as the ideal Paladin with all the qualities that Paladins should carry such as: true faith, indomitable spirit, and bravery to withstand any amount of torment. He had been the only person to be sanctified by both the Mura Sect and the Khorassan Sect, the two great pillars of faith that had split the world in two. For Paladins whose special trait was their abilities were decided by the blessings they possessed, it wouldn’t have been an exaggeration to say that he was the most powerful Paladin in history. However when he came out to the public, a critical weakness that hadn’t been so obvious before was revealed. It was that his combat sense was poor. It had been previously thought that his combat sense was lacking compared to the other Paladins. But his mental fortitude was unmatched by others, so it was believed that his stats would overcome his short comings. However, his lack of ability caught his heels time and time again during fights between peerless fighters. In the end, he couldn’t even exceed the position of 5th Continental Champion and earned a much less title of 9th Continental Champion.
But Sungchul was confident: If Dalphain had a bit more combat sense, his position would have been much higher than it had been. Unexpectedly, Dalupin’s true strength was revealed not in life, but after his death.
Sungchul was watching the Paladin Dalphain enveloped in a holy brilliance with callous eyes. He was well aware of what the brilliance was. Shield of Retribution. It was a trap to turn the tables, fueled not by mortal powers but through the power borrowed from the God of Order.
Shield of Retribution possessed no ability to absorb damage, so Dalphain would perish if Sungchul caused enough damage, but it was a cumbersome trick against people with overwhelming offensive capabilities like Sungchul.
Sungchul was poorly matched against him. Had it been the Dalphain of the past, he would have released the Shield of Retribution on his own to cast his favorite ultimate skill to end the fight impatiently, but the Spirit Mage that controlled him now didn’t seem to have such plans. Sungchul could only continue to watch him while reflecting on these thoughts.
As expected of a figure deserving of blessings from both major sects, his body seemed to have retained his holy power even after death. The problem was that the head that contained his holy power was controlled by Phoebe.
She utilized Dalphain as a shield to stop Sungchul from approaching. It seemed impossible to resolve this as he had always done by knocking them away.
‘Was it wrong to give them time?’
It would take a bit of time, but the results were already decided now that he had discovered them. Rather, he figured that it wasn’t so bad for him to use his head every now and then as it was never a good thing to become accustomed to easy fights considering the future. Sungchul continued to reflect on his overflowing amount of options, immediately configured those options into a plan within his head and went into action.
First, he took a step back. Dalphain, who was Phoebe’s shield, did not give chase and stayed where he was. The sliced corpses beside the standing figure of Dalphain began to slowly piece themselves together to reform the wall of corpses. Phoebe looked down from the bell tower with her legs dangling from the ledge with a bored expression, but it was easy to see that she was determined not to be distracted.
It was as Sungchul wanted. He personally began to cast a spell before the villains from the east. A complex magical formation appeared around him. Angelo couldn’t decipher what it meant, but Phoebe immediately understood Sungchul’s intentions.
“It’s Meteor. Move away.”
As soon as the words left her lips, a magical formation of the Cosmos opened up midst the countless fireworks in the city sky a meteor descended through the formation wielding terrifying momentum. Phoebe descended down the tower with levitation while Angelo used his dexterity to jump down as the meteor fell right behind them. The bell tower was smashed to pieces while the bell attached to the belfry was embedded into the ground while trembling from the lingering impact.
“That bastard was a magic swordsman?”
As Angelo was muttering to himself, another magical appeared consecutively above their heads.
[ Echo x3 ]
The ability of Sungchul’s class, Echo Mage, was activated. 3 Meteor fell on top of Angelo and his companion consecutively. Debris flew in every direction and the entire area was reduced to dust. Phoebe and Angelo looked at the man standing in the distance with different eyes as the area was covered thick in dust. They exchanged glances.
‘He’s a powerful enemy.’
Phoebe advanced her shield, Dalphain, and the other corpses slowly while Angelo joined the procession of corpses. It was to avoid allowing him to cast more spells. They were entering the next phase of battle.
The attack from the army of death on La Grange was still on going as the battle between Sungchul and the pair from the east went on The army of skeletons from Section 8 ignored Section 7 and assaulted Section 6 directly. A small amount of guards tried to stop them with all of their might, but the numbers were simply too much. The heavy gates swooned from the continued attack and began to collapse.
Military engineers tried to reinforce the gates with additional materials, but it was for naught. They could also see it: the flying moth flying in between skeleton soldiers. This giant moth holding the Orb of Vengeful Spirit within its 6 legs were continuously raising those that had been killed by the skeleton army to reinforce the skeleton army’s numbers infinitely. This was the reason that their numbers didn’t decrease regardless of how much of them were slain.
“Kill that bug! Kill that damned bug!”
The commander of the soldiers shouted through his parched throat. They concentrated all of their firepower such as Magic Arrow, bolts of crossbows, balls of fire, and more toward the bug and the orb. One of the distant arrows landed on target through sheer luck. The moth fell over and dropped through the cracks into the sewers just like that.
The soldiers cheered, but that had only brought about the worst result. The corpses rotting within the Great Sewers below had woken to the aura of death pouring out of the Orb of Vengeful Spirits and risen. They weren’t the worthless skeletons of the average folks. They were the nobles of the east that had carried long and dignified histories with them. Corpses of those that were once decadent of proud houses now rose from the filth of the waste water with their decaying bodies one at a time. Had there been Soldiers of Salvation guarding the sewers, they might have been able to extinguish the flames of death that had spread from elsewhere. But the Soldiers of Salvations were moved to a high value location, entrance of Section 4, by the direction of the Supervisor of the Imperial Sewers. In other words, the sewers of Section 6 were currently abandoned.
The aristocracy of the east began to crawl out from below, seeking the breath of the living, and fell in line behind the army of skeletons congested before the castle gates. When these undead revealed themselves, the defensive line of Section 6 was at its breaking point. The soldiers had fled and the army of death within Section 6 poured in like a flood, and the sound of their invasion could be heard clearly by the young couple still in the silent hospital.
“What is this sound?”
Sunghae who was laying on the bed looked nervous as she looked at her surroundings.
“Wait a bit. I’ll go take a look around.”
As someone that had stood on the battlefield, he had a hunch that there was a fierce battle unfolding outside. The clergymen outside were busy running through the hallway.
“Block the entrance with every obstacle you can!”
Another group of priests were equipped with armor and blunt weapons while praying to their god. Kimchi approached them and asked.
“Just what is happening?”
An elderly clergyman groaned in reply.
“Lord, forgive their foolish transgressions on the holiest of nights that is New Year’s Eve! An evil necromancer had raised a massive army of undead and attacking this place. It’s not too late so immediately escape this place to Section 5.
A dark shadow drew over Kimchi’s face. Sunghae could not be moved at the moment. She had been given medication that wasn’t good for her body so she required complete rest. To tell him to leave this place was the same as telling him to leave his wife behind.
“I cannot do that.”
Kimchi replied decisively.
“If you stay here, you will die with the other patients. Of course, we will try to hold on as long as we can, but…”
The clergyman spoke with a moan.
The young man named Kimchi was a burly but poor looking fellow who looked conflicted for a moment before replying with determination.
“I will fight as well.”
The clergyman looked at Kimchi with surprise. Kimchi simply nodded and pulled something out of thin air. It was the armaments of the Order of the Blood Iron Knights that he had sealed within his Soul Storage for a long time. The clergyman who saw the armaments engraved with the words Blood Iron in korean symbolizing this order grew wide-eyed.
“High Knight of what was formerly known as the Order of the Blood Iron Knights, Kanghui Lee. I will stake this forsaken name once again to fight with you all.”
The eyes of Kanghui burned passionately as he adorned his equipment and stood alongside the clergyman of the Mura Sect as they watched the army of death approaching from the front. These soldiers that were led by the nobles of the east discovered the hospital and let out a strange cry before clamoring toward them like a tidal wave.
“Come, you dogs! Do you think I’ll give up my foxy wife that I worked so hard to get!”
Kanghui raised his steel sword and shield and headed toward the former nobles of the east.
Midst this fierce battle of the living and the dead, the festival was still ongoing. Arquebus was now watching the fireworks popping from the Floating Palace with a resigned look on his face when a dragon knight flew over through the skies and landed on the deck.
“Admiral. Minister Dimitri had sent over a message.
This was the silver lining that he was looking for. He forgot his dignity and rushed toward the Dragon Knight in a hurry to inquire further.
“Right, so what are the orders?”
At this question, the knight looked less confident as he shook his head in reply.
“He ordered that the decision regarding the current situation is to be left to Admiral until an order comes down from the Emperor saying otherwise.”
Arquebus’ face furrowed like crumpled paper upon hearing the news, but he wasn’t irresponsible as to let out the insults about his superiors escape his lips.
‘That old raccoon. He didn’t even report to the Emperor! He’s always trying to avoid all responsibilities like that!’
However, his superior had left a single piece of trivial message that all left this to his discretion, and this left a single leverage in which the responsibilities of this incident could be diverted.
Arquebus looked toward Section 8 burning down in flames. The skeletons appearing from Section 8 ignored Section 8 and were heading toward the upper sections. Citizens of Section 8 formed a small foothold of resistance where the roadblocks were set up like an isolated island. Since the skeleton soldiers were lacking raw stats, it was enough to buy plenty of time. Largely, there weren’t pressing problems within Section 8 itself, but almost an endless supply of skeletons were pouring out from Section 8.
Arquebus propped his chin and fell into thought regarding the limits of his own authority and the impact that would unfold in relation to it.
The corpse attached to Dalphain’s head was approaching with uneven steps. Sungchul calmly retreated while looking for an escape, but the corpses were surrounding him as well while Angelo was watching his movements with his sharp eyes from behind the corpse army.
“Ey, what are you doing?”
Angelo tossed out a question.
“You don’t look like a dog of the Empire, so why are you helping them?”
Sungchul made no reply and continued to step back.
The corpse of the Paladin Dalphain seemed to respond to his movements and stepped forward in order to close their distance. Sungchul glared toward Phoebe who was positioned behind Angelo.
“You’re trying to use a pincer attack are you? Don’t even try it. Phoebe won’t fall for something obvious like that.”
As he had said, Pheobe had cast a defensive barrier that wouldn’t even let a drop of water through. She was a magician of a certain caliber so it was obvious to expect her to have studied a few defensive magic. Magic that would easily overwhelm someone like Ahmuge.
However, Sungchul was not looking to launch two pronged attacks nor to attempt to assassinate. His intentions were something else entirely, and soon what he was looking came into sight. Dalphain had stepped on top of the weak manhole cover covered in dirt.
God-like strength immediately flowed through Sungchul who had only been on the retreat, and Angelo could faintly sense the flow of this power that he couldn’t withstand.
‘What is this eerie energy?’
Sungchul pounded on the ground with his feet instilled with god-like energy even before Angelo could respond, and the ground collapsed down. Angelo was able to quickly evade to avoid the falling ground, but Dalphain’s corpse who was being controlled by Phoebe was not so lucky. It fell below the earth with the falling ground into the sewers. The corpse was able to land securely onto the embankment of the sewers, but a dark shadow appeared behind it. It was Sungchul. He swung Krumbui at Dalphain’s neck as though he was waiting for this moment, but it wasn’t just a simple swing. He avoided Dalphin’s flesh and only sliced through the steel wire that connected the body to the head.
“A… aura strike!”
Dalphain’s corpse tried to instill holy sword energy into his own blade to attack, unable to know what Sungchul had done. But its excessive movements only served to detach the head from the body as their connection was gone. Without an attack from Sungchul.
Sword instilled with Holy Aura only managed to strike air, and at the same time, Dalphain’s head fell to the ground causing the Shield of Retribution that surrounded the body to disappear. The Shield was broken.
Sungchul swung his sword once again in order to literally pulverize the body and lightly leapt onto the surface above.
Sungchul had a bad habit. Once he saw those that relied only on their petty strength to stir trouble, he didn’t let it end right there. It was the same when he faced off against Sajators. He presented them with a death appropriate to their evil deed only after having them thoroughly feel the insignificance of their strength. This was one of the reasons that he stalled.
“Should I get a good look at your skills?”
He knew how to make them despair, and at times, he enjoyed doing so.
Krumbui disappeared and in its stead was the Weapon of Calamity Oom Brook in his right hand, and a weapon that hadn’t been seen before appeared in his left hand. Rather than a sword, it had a strange shape that looked more like moving flesh. Ahmuge’s eyes filled with terror when she saw it.
‘T-That is… the other Weapon of Calamity Agony…!’
Sungchul held the two weapons of Calamity in each hand, slowly moved towards the pair from the east like an envoy of death.