Midst the fierce battle, Kanghui saw a flash of light crossing through the sky. It was different than fireworks. A form of illumination created by magic.
The living corpse of a noble of the east swung its blade toward Kanghui, and he blocked the swing. It might be an undead, but it was still a formidable swing. This noble must have been Kanghui’s equal or superior in life. Not only that, Kanghui was in an exhausted state having been in battle for a sustained period of time. His arms felt weak and his legs quivered. However, he could not fall back. At the moment he falls, the undead would push into the hospital and they would take the life of his wife which he wouldn’t trade for anything in the world.
“Sons of bitches!”
Kanghui shouted profanities into the air as he squeezed out the final inkling of his strength to push back the undead. The Undead fell aside against the sudden rush and Kanghui’s sword swiftly plunged into it. The body of the noble of the east trembled before it stopped moving entirely.
He no longer had any strength to fight left even as the nobles of the east numbered in the hundreds stood before him.
Kanghui offered a prayer in his head as he prepared for his final bout, but at that moment, another flash of light appeared in the sky. It was light crossing through the sky like the one before.
Kanghui’s eyes grew wide in confusion. One of the airships stationed in the airspace above La Grange was swallowed up in flames as it descended below.
‘What is this damned situation? Is the enemy targeting the sky as well?’
He suddenly noticed another presence flying in the sky. It was a person. The man appeared to be a magician as he was flying freely through the sky, but his exact appearance was veiled in darkness.
‘What is that person?’
At that moment, another firework flew out from the Floating Palace and exploded causing the world to brighten. The vibrant light crossing through the sky revealed the mysterious man in darkness. Kanghui’s jaw dropped.
“T-that is the Keeper?!”
The Keeper was navigating the skies until he suddenly stopped and was enveloped by a massive magical formation that spat out an overwhelming light to destroy one of the airships of the Defensive fleet. A miracle occurred at the same time. The army of the dead that surrounded him began to waver one by one until they all collapsed.
“Just what is about to happen now?”
Kanghui dropped his bloody sword and looked toward the sky. The man called Keeper, Sungchul Kim, was flying directly toward the Floating Palace.
Arquebus Kusenophon. He was a figure of much discussion who had appeared in the political landscape of La Grange like a comet, who had come to bear the heavy responsibility as the head of the 8th Capital Defence Fleet and commander-in-chief in charge of defense of the capital at a young age. His greatest legacy had been the cleansing of Panchuria that had sympathized with the Enemy of the World. His orders had erased Panchuria off the map, the city on the river that had already suffered by a Colossus.
The survivors of Panchuria collectively spoke of his brutality, but there was no one that paid any mind to the weak. All those that spoke ill of him were labeled as part of the Cult of Extinction and made to suffer cruel punishment. Despite this, his evil deeds were ceasely spoken of by word of mouth among the people.
Two flaws were made evident. One was his lack of ability. He always wore flashy outfits and famous swords that caught people’s eyes followed by rumors of his great sword skills and near Transcended strength, but in reality, no one had seen him fight personally. According to a mercenary of the past that had said to have crossed swords with him on the battlefield by some happenstance, Arquebus lacked ability for a Superhuman, not to even speak of Transcended. Of course, no one knows what happened to that mercenary afterwards.
Another topic of gossip about him was his indeterminate background. He was known to be a noble of the Kingdom of Ruteginea, but the nobles of Ruteginea were split into two types: The ones that surrendered to the Emperor and aided in the founding of the Empire, and those that those that abused their power in the stead of the King of Ruteginea and had fallen to ruin.
The fallen nobles had committed so many sins that they were not forgiven by anyone. In the case of the most representative of the fallen nobles, the Ghadarva family that owned the Colosseum, every one of their members were executed or incarcerated. There were rumors that Arquebus was a part of that sort of fallen nobles, and some even claimed that he was from the vile Ghadarva family. His origins were indeterminate, but there were rumors among the maids of the palace that he had objects bearing the insignia of the Ghadarva family within his possessions.
Despite these rumors, he continued to rise within the ranks in the meantime. He rose rapidly with the wholehearted backing of the Emperor, and he also had the ability to talk back to Dmitri Medioff who was the most trusted advisor of the Emperor. The devastating attack on Section 8 was an option he was able to take due to confidence in his own authority and background.
“Sacrifices are inevitable for the greater good. Section 8 was the Human Sewers where the human wastes of the Empire gathered anyways. It’s bound to quickly fill up again with garbage even if I stir it up a bit.”
He avoided every counsel of his subordinates that stood against him and ordered the bombardment of Section 8. He couldn’t even imagine that the order he would relay was the worst mistake he would ever make.
“Appearance of an unknown magician to the left. He is trying to cast Star Light!”
A single magician that suddenly appeared within the darkness had shattered the peace. He who appeared out of nowhere navigated between the airships with extreme maneuverability and destroyed the airships of the Capital Defensive Fleet one by one.
“Just who is that guy?”
Arquebus tried to determine the perpetrator’s identity through his panic until a single man popped up in his mind.
‘Could it be Sajators of the Seven Heroes?!’
A magician capable of taking on the Imperial City alone could only be found among the Seven Heroes, and there were only two people with the Magician Class among them. Within the pair, Sajators was the only one male with powerful magical ability. It was almost confirmed by how he was using Fly while shooting off powerful magic, but this couldn’t be the case.
‘Is this really the rumored Multicasting? But, why is Sajators attacking us? We should have a mutually beneficial agreement with them?!’
Regardless of what the reason could be, he couldn’t just stand there taking losses. He immediately ordered the deployment of the Dragon Knights.
“Capture that bastard and drag him here right away!”
He began to think this might be an opportunity. If he could capture Sajators, he would be able to not only throw all of his blunders under the rug, but accomplish a feat to step on all those that spoke ill of him. The source of his confidence was hidden within his vessel. There was a secret existence with fearsome power slumbering deep within his airship. It was the greatest weapon gifted to him by those that supported him. He had been told not to use it until absolutely necessary, but if this wasn’t such a situation, what would be?
He could see the Dragon Knights surrounding the magician suspected to be Sajators from a distance. There was nothing as fast as a dragon in the skies. The mystical creature that only followed a single master after hatching from its egg possessed strength to match the amount of costs and effort it took to raise it. The veteran Dragon Knights that were carefully selected among the Superhumans were another pivotal strength of the Empire apart from the fleet of airships, but those dragon knights fell like autumn leaves. Arquebus doubted his own eyes.
‘Were the strength of the Seven Heroes of this level?’
The next destination of mysterious man that had made short work of the Dragon Knights was the largest and most outstanding of the airships: Arquebus’ flagship.
The man in casual wear landed on deck, and finally, Arquebus could properly see the man’s face.
‘What is this? It’s not the Seven Heroes?’
It was definitely a Summoned looking at his outer appearance, but there didn’t exist a Summoned that powerful outside the Emperor and the leader of the Assassin’s Guild. Other than one faint possibility that is. Arquebus’ face fell.
‘Could it be…? The Enemy of the World?’
His uneasy feeling became reality. Sungchul looked directly at him as he asked calmly.
“Did you send out the order?”
It was a small, but undefiable voice. Arquebus felt his entire body freeze in fear, but he realized that this was another form of opportunity. He held the back of his hand toward his subordinates and gestured toward them. Soon, the sound of metal unlocking could be heard from within the airship.
“By just what authority would I have given that order?”
Arquebus responded as leisurely as he could.
“You’re saying that you’re a nobody.”
Sungchul approached him. As the scene before him grew yellow, the center of the deck flew open at a timely manner revealing dark creatures that had been dormant within it.
A Soldier of Salvation. It was the greatest weapon presented by the forces watching his back. It was solely because of these soldiers that were steeped in the uneasy aura of Calamity that he believed he had the ability to capture Sajators by himself. According to his calculations, he had faith that he would be able to take care of the Enemy of the World that was at the level of the Seven Heroes with the invincible Soldier of Salvation as well.
“Go! Go and capture the Enemy of the World! I shall bring in this traitor before the Emperor himself!”
His delusion was shattered in no more than 10 sections. All efforts turned to waste before Fal Garaz. The Soldiers of Salvation that he was proud of all disappeared into bloody sludge while the deck of the airship had become destroyed causing the airship to freefall. Sungchul had approached Arquebus within the chaos and raised his hand.
The reply to Arquebus’ pleading was a satisfying blow. Sungchul’s fist critically struck his face, but with just enough strength to not kill him.
“I’ve spent too much time on some nobody.”
Sungchul left behind Arquebus who was twitching on the ground with convulsions and cast Fly to head toward the sky in the direction of the Floating Palace. Dragon Knights deployed from the other airships intercepted him on the way, but they couldn’t do anything to stop him.
He lightly landed on the garden of the Floating Palace. The upper echelon of the land were gathered here. Each one of them had greasy faces with flamboyant clothes exuding an aura of arrogance. Sungchul looked toward the man in the center among the dressed up pigs. The strong looking man adorned with armor adorned in gold. The people looked toward him and called him Emperor.
Sungchul’s appearance had changed significantly, but the Emperor was able to recognize him in a single glance.
“You have the appearance of when you’ve first come to the Other World.”
The Emperor waved his arm and spoke in a thundering voice.
“Everyone step aside. Don’t interfere. I will be conversing with this one.”
The nobles within the banquet hall grew noisy, but retreated once the Emperor ordered it. The massive banquet hall now looked to only contain two men: Sungchul and the Emperor. Sungchul began the conversation.
“It’s been a while, William Quinton Marlboro.”
His voice sounded conflicted. The Emperor nodded in reply.
“You no longer call me the Emperor?”
“You no longer have the right to be called one.”
Sungchul promptly replied, and the Emperor slowly began to walk to the side. The golden armor clashed with each step and made faint metallic noise. When the Emperor appeared at his side, he spoke again.
“Why did you attack your own people?”
The Emperor looked at him strangely.
Soon a servant came to him and whispered to his ears to which the Emperor nodded.
Sungchul found out then that the Emperor had no knowledge of what was happening.
But he was at a position where he was responsible for what had happened.
So Sungchul spoke again.
“Your fleet has killed your people. Is there any King in the world that kills their own people? That is no king nor a leader. It’s nothing more than a cowardly mass murderer.”
“I won’t make excuses. It is all caused by my own shortcomings, but that also is for the good of La Grange. If not for such actions, the city would be overrun with corpses by now.”
“If you’re talking about the Necromancer, I killed her. She seemed to have been called Phoebe.”
Curiosity rose in the Emperor’s eyes when he heard the name.
‘Is he talking about Phoebe Canvas?’
A faint smile rose on his lips.
“You’re still working for the Empire even when you’ve taken off the uniform of Commander in Chief.”
“You should know full well that I haven’t come here to make jokes?”
Sungchul revealed his distaste in conversation, and as if to prove his words, Fal Garaz, the divine object that symbolizes him, appeared in his hand.