There was a murderous aura surrounding the plaza, and it was coming from Jungshik’s faction. He’d raised the topic regarding his dead subordinates on the day after the Tam Tam match. There were over 30 of his people that had been sacrificed during the Tam Tam match.
No one had expected Jungshik to create this kind of situation since Hakchul’s faction had also received some damage although significantly less when compared with Jungshik’s faction; Jungshik himself had led the charge, so it was only reasonable. After holding a funeral service for his men, he confronted Hakchul’s faction with his group.
“I have something to say!”
He stabbed his bloody sword in front of Hakchul and growled at the people that were surrounding him.
“Starting today, we will be ruling this plaza.”
It was an explosive announcement. Hakchul was more than a bit surprised, but he still used all of his effort to keep it from showing on his face.
“I don’t understand what you’re saying? Why are you doing this?”
“You don’t know? It’s because you guys aren’t doing jack around here.”
Jungshik had realised that there were too many blatantly useless people in this place. And the situation hadn’t changed since the first rank match either. Those who fought, risked their lives, while the others simply sat back and watched; fully satisfied with just being spectators.
They couldn’t even muster up the minimum amount of courage needed to contribute, yet they always had something to say regarding the rewards that others got. And it wasn’t uncommon for them to resort to theft either.
“Drag them out.”
With Jungshik’s gesture, one of his subordinates dragged out two people whose hands were tied.
“Your people had the balls to covet my men’s stuff.”
Jungshik’s subordinate grabbed the back of their heads to reveal their faces. They had been beaten so badly that it was difficult to recognize their original appearance.
Hakchul’s face froze in shock, then grew red in anger.
“E-even still, how could you beat someone to this state before hearing them out?”
Hakchul raised his hand. Several lieutenants around him nodded their heads and snuck off to bring back a few dozen people; they surrounded Jungshik’s faction through sheer numbers, but Jungshik didn’t appear to be scared of them at all.
As though expecting such a development, he smiled widely and pulled out the bloody sword from the ground and spun it around dexterously. It spun wildly before its point aimed straight at Hakchul.
“You wanna have a go?”
The fuse had been lit. The tension grew to the point that a fight could break out at any moment. At this time, a man strode over arrogantly between Hakchul and Jungshik while whistling to himself. Several hundred pairs of eyes were aimed at him.
They first noticed his handsome appearance, tall height, and symmetrical body, but soon they felt an unusual aura coming from him. It wouldn’t be a lie to say that he was arrogance incarnate.
“Let’s not fight. Love and peace, you know? Isn’t that right, pretty lady*?”
Even under the gaze of the crowd, he didn’t wilt, but rather, continued to jest as he approached both of the leaders.
Sungchul watched the man’s movements from a distance. The other preselected also took notice of the situation with great curiosity.
“Ahram? Why’s he acting like that all of a sudden?”
“That’s what I’m saying. He was all whiney about losing his staff… maybe he has finally lost it.”
The man walking fearlessly between Hakchul and Jungshik was none other than Ahram Park.
There were dozens of subordinates standing behind both leaders, but they couldn’t think of stopping him as he strode in so naturally and with such blatant arrogance. Ahram eventually arrived in front of both the leaders.
“Why so serious? Hm? Should humans be fighting with each other even after winning the rank match?”
Ahram looked at Hakchul then at Jungshik as he spoke. Jungshik’s cold glare pierced him like daggers. Ahram slightly opened his mouth in mock surprise, but that was all. He approached Jungshik, as though appeasing a child, and laid his hand on his shoulder.
“Woah woah~ Friend. Cool it, okay?”
Jungshik’s shoulder moved slightly, and with great speed and accuracy, Ahram’s clothes turned to tatters. If his blade had come any higher, it might have taken off his neck.
“I’m going to chop off your neck next time, so leave before I stop being nice.”
Jungshik spoke frostily, and Ahram smiled in response.
“Che, this guy can’t control his temper, can he?”
Something outrageous had followed his words. Everyone thought that Ahram had finally lost his marbles. Jungshik was one of the strongest within the Blanche Plaza that everyone recognized. No one knew where this arrogance had come from, other than Sungchul.
‘He’s aching to show off that ill-gotten power of his.’
Ahram’s body suddenly changed. It twisted, then grew fur along his face and arms. Everyone watched this transformation in shock and horror, until a monster which was slightly larger than an adult man stood before them.
He was a werewolf. And like vampires, werewolves were one of the racial transformations that could be obtained voluntarily. It instantly granted 30 strength, dexterity, and vitality. And other than the critical weakness of the abysmal growth rate and inability to learn magic, it was like being a wolf locked in a pen with the sheep being the recently summoned.
“Now, let’s cool our heads a bit. Mm?”
The transformed Ahram laughed loudly as he strode closer to Jungshik a step at a time. Jungshik quickly realized that the monster would be difficult for him to deal with, but it was still a moment too late. Ahram had already targeted him and also didn’t care to let him live.
“What? Nothing more to say? Did your temper fizzle after seeing my true form? Huh? Did that rage fix itself suddenly? Huh?”
He took another step forward with an endless stream of taunts. Jungshik’s subordinates stepped in between them with their blades drawn.
“Boss, We’ll try to slow him down.”
At that moment, Ahram took a step forward and his claws split the air cleaving through the two humans’ flesh as easily as through tofu. Blood and viscera splattered everywhere, and the two men hit the ground as corpses.
Jungshik’s group had suddenly become smaller.
Ahram sneered as he licked his bloody claws.
“Now that I look at you, there’s a lot of pretty pictures on your body. Is that a dragon? Huh? Why won’t you talk? Maybe you’ll feel like talking after I’ve drawn a few more pictures on you, isn’t that right?”
Ahram no longer held back his savagery, and as he revealed his strength, no one dared to step forward to stop him. Jungshik realized that he couldn’t face this opponent and felt his impending death, but suddenly Ahram came to a stop.
He began speaking to himself. He looked off into the distance and swung his hairy arms.
“No, what more reason do I need than that I want to kill him? I don’t know. Fuck, I said I don’t know!”
Sungchul suspected the redheaded mage had intervened behind the scenes.
‘Jungshik is a preselected summoned. I don’t know who chose him, but if Dolorence had to step in, it must be someone important.’
However, Ahram wasn’t so easily handled.
“It’s fine. I’m sure my dad will clean up the mess later. My faceless father, that is.”
The beastly Ahram’s yellow pupils glowed with frenzy, and he swung his arms towards Jungshik. Jungshik succeeded in stopping the claws, but the force of the blow still carried through and crumpled his body off to the side.
He glared at the werewolf rushing over towards him as he bit his lips nervously.
His legs wouldn’t move. The blow must have damaged his legs. It might recover soon, but he would be defenseless against the next attack. He watched helplessly as the werewolf rushed towards him before a miracle occurred. Wolves appeared on both sides of Ahram. They tore up Ahram’s legs as he pushed through the crowd to reach him.
“Fuck, what’s this?”
They were Spirit Wolves. The same wolves that Ahram had shown during the first rank match. The two wolves now attacked their original master.
Ahram tore apart the wolves with his claws in a frenzy, and the wolves disappeared into the air with a pitiful cry.
“Who did it!!”
He sifted through the crowd of people with frenzied eyes.
“Who the fuck was it? The fucker who used my staff! Huh?!”
Ahram’s attention had shifted away from Jungshik, so his subordinates efficiently took his immobilized body away. However, the situation hadn’t quite resolved itself. Ahram’s temper had simply transferred from Jungshik towards the rest of the summoned.
“Which one of you fuckers was it?!”
Ahram blindly ran towards the crowd, and the horrified crowd scattered like leaves in their panic. Several dozens of people were trampled and an unlucky few were tenderized into meat by his claws. The plaza became chaotic.
Within that chaos, Ahram began to breathe heavily as he slowly turned back to his original form. His transformation unraveled, only lasting for 5 minutes. But within those 5 minutes, he had changed the whole dynamic of power within the plaza.
Jungshik, who had been rising, had now been incapacitated and Hakchul could only watch in horror as the wolfman attacked his comrades. Ahram reveled in the tense atmosphere and looked around with a sneer. No one could stop him nor could they criticize him. He had absolute power over this arena. He left with a knowing grin, aware of what he had just obtained.
At this moment after everyone fell silent, Sungchul wasn’t busy watching Ahram like the others, but rather, at a certain woman. She was the one who had secretly conjured the two spirit wolves, and hidden the staff behind her as she nonchalantly blended in with the crowd. It was that woman.
Sungchul recognized that woman’s face.
‘It’s her, without a doubt; the same one as before.’
She was the one who had been aiming for the bonus monster during the first rank match. He’d managed to gain on her, but she clearly was more capable than she let on. He had only been wary of her before this, but this was clearly a level of intuition and ability that couldn’t be learned on the field. Her painstaking effort and countless encounters with death was subtly embedded in her every move. He had only suspected this before, but the critical timing of her discreet summoning, along with her supernatural evasion, had confirmed his suspicion.
‘That woman… I’ve known this from the start, but she’s definitely not an ordinary newbie.’
He had never seen it directly, but he’d heard some interesting rumors regarding the Summoning Palace. Gods, or those beings that were similar to gods, were endowed with the ability to traverse through time and enter the Summoning Palace as initiates. Regressors; those beings that returned with their past experiences in war intact. He recalled a forgotten memory because of that woman. There was a need to observe her further, yet there was something even more important that needed to be taken care of first.
A Sky Squirrel deftly landed on his shoulder.
Sungchul petted the squirrel’s head then unraveled the pouch attached to its forearm to check its contents.
[Dolorence Winterer. Age 24. Frost Mage. Graduate of the Magic University of Airfruit. A hound for money and power with a rotten core, but her ability is also acknowledged as top grade by her peers.]
“Ho~ An Airfruit graduate. That’s quite impressive.”
Sungchul moved on to the next part of the letter with an amused expression.
[She ignored everything to constantly observe her preselected, but there is a brief moment where she takes her eyes off of him. That is when he is dragging an innocent woman into the forest.]
A rare smile formed as he finished reading the letter.
Note: * Ahram is talking to the woman standing beside Jungshik.