Book 2: Chapter 410
Jacob looked down at the dark forest. He could feel a lot of presences… It was unpleasant. Like a disgusting fog was wrapping around and touching his entire body.
He hated the fact that the Corpse Ghost was testing him, and that there were copies of his past self in this place.
But the thing that bothered him the most-
Jacob stopped thinking about it.
Firstly, his priority was to finish this test or whatever it was.
He’d already understood what needed to be done. He thought of the copies he’d killed until now. Among them, the most annoying was Haspin. He was the only person in this test that could be considered even a slight threat to him.
However, Haspin couldn’t be considered an opponent either.
This was something he was certain of after dealing with all the copies one after the other.
Jacob had thoroughly a.n.a.lysed, understood and destroyed all of them.
So it was time to end this.
Looking down at the forest, he spread out his palms.
The tendons on the back of his hands clenched, and just as Jacob’s gaze deepened…
The copies in the forest began rising up one after the other.
Without warning, a powerful suction force erupted.
Two people were able to react quickly. Sama Ryeong immediately made herself heavier with One Thousand Falling Catties(千斤墜), while numerous mechanical parts shot out of Daihad’s foot and stuck into the ground.
Then, they looked up at the sky.
There, they saw dozens of struggling copies.
Daihad muttered and although she didn’t answer, Sama Ryeong agreed.
“I don’t understand the principle behind this suction.”
“Isn’t that what magic is like?”
“That is the case from a layman’s point of view, but…”
After saying those words, Daihad began to mutter to himself, softly mumbling the rest of his words. It seemed like he’d started a.n.a.lysing at a time like this. As expected, he had an exhausting personality.
Instead of thinking about it any further, Sama Ryeong returned her gaze to the sky. Fortunately, several of the surrounding trees had been pulled up as well, so she was able to easily see what was happening above them.
Standing in the middle of the sky with his palms outstretched in front of him was Jacob. And the copies were gathering right in front of him.
Crack, squelch… The copies were smushed to each other to create b.a.l.l.s of meat.
In order to create such a shape, bones and muscles were not unharmed. Before long, blood could be seen dripping from the construct.
Finally, Sama Ryeong saw Jacob spread his fingers apart.
The ball split in half.
He moved his fingers again. This time, it was a series of movements. To match those movements, the sound of flesh being torn was heard continuously. Before long, the ball of meat had become small pieces of meat that fell like rain.
At that point, the suction force disappeared.
Sama Ryeong stopped using One Thousand Falling Catties, and Daihad withdrew the mechanical parts.
There were no longer any presences in the forest.
“I cannot sense any biological reactions from replicas in the forest.”
It seemed that Daihad was also checking the surroundings in his own way.
Perhaps it was just her imagination, but Sama Ryeong felt that his method might be more accurate than her own senses.
“That man might be more dangerous than I expected. I will have to think of a solu-”
Before he could finish saying -tion.
A black lightning bolt appeared in the sky. It was strange. As mentioned before, there were no clouds in the sky.
The moment she thought she might have been mistaken, she heard it.
—Her eardrums almost ruptured.
For a moment, her vision became black and white. The ground shook heavily. Unlike the suction force from before, she had a hard time maintaining her balance.
It was a sound so loud that it could be heard from the other side of the forest.
It was then that she realised what had happened.
The black lightning had struck.
Sama Ryeong drew her sword, cold sweat forming on her pale face.
Daihad was also silent. There was a rare lack of expression on his face, and if one looked closely, they would realise that his facial muscles had stiffened.
Both of them had realised something at the same time.
A presence had appeared in the forest together with that black lightning.
And that being was currently exuding a terrifying aura.
Daihad spoke in a voice that had lost all of the previous humor.
“This is the next stage.”
* * *
The place where the lightning struck was no different from a scene of chaos.
The ground had been hollowed out to form a huge crater, and the surrounding area had become a sea of fire. Krrr, huge trees became ashes and fell, and smoke rose into the air endlessly.
The one closest to this place was Mantis.
Mantis’ compound eyes calmly observed the scene of the disaster. Occasionally, flames would lick at its carapace, but they didn’t even leave scorch marks.
Just as it was thinking of slowly going closer.
Together with the sound of something cutting through the air, he felt the presence of someone approaching with great momentum. It was coming from the sky, so who it was it went without saying.
With the sound of a soft landing came the sight of a flapping robe.
And the figure covered by this robe was none other than Jacob with his characteristic arrogant smirk.
“How surprising. I didn’t expect you to survive, mantis.”
“Haha. My life string is quite tough.”
“You must have gotten lucky. However… it is amazing. I thought you were mixed in with the copies earlier and died.”
“Ah. So that was your doing after all.”
Mantis smiled kindly. Almost at the same time, the smile disappeared from Jacob’s face.
Instead, there was a chill in his eyes.
“Considering your luck, I will show you some mercy. Get out of here, and I will spare your life.”
“That is my prey.”
Then, without waiting for Mantis’ reply, he began walking toward the crater.
“Do you hate me?”
Of course, Mantis had no intention of backing down so easily.
“You got rid of most of the copies, so I wasn’t able to do anything. At this rate, I might not be able to pa.s.s the test.”
“That so? Then die.”
Mantis’ figure leaned to the side.
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He was more desperate than anyone else in this place because he had a great sense of duty.
After taking only a few steps, the area which had been cleared away was once again filled with dust. But Mantis’ compound eyes were able to pick out the blurred silhouette within it.
Perhaps this would be the highlight of the test.
It stretched out his forelimbs.
He clashed for the first time with the unseen opponent.
Mantis admitted that fact first…Was it armour? It was surprising. Mantis hadn’t put its all in that attack. Nevertheless, when it looked at the silhouette, they were in a half squat position. In other words, they were defenceless.
Even though its view was partially obscured by the dust, it thought that its attack would at least be able to surprise them even if it didn’t outright defeat them. But those expectations had failed to the point of being funny.
By this time, the opponent had already gotten to their feet and drawn their sword. Its body shook. Cowering in fear, Mantis almost pulled back its forelimbs.
But it couldn’t do that. Mantis had already entered the opponent’s range. Since it had already reached this stage, the only thing it could do was continue attacking.
It swung its forelimbs without mercy. Dozens of strikes were sent out in the blink of an eye, but they were all blocked. The only thing it could hear was the collision of metal. At this point, Mantis had already lost all hope.
It understood its strengths well. It was a combination of rapid attacks and instantaneous speed.
Although the damage of each attack might be low, it was confident that it wouldn’t lose to anyone when it came to speed.
But this opponent was standing still with a single sword, easily blocking every attack.
Nevertheless, there were some slight results. Their violent clash had caused the surrounding dust to begin to clear up.
As a result, the figure of the opponent was vaguely revealed.
What Mantis saw was black armour that seemed to be made from condensed darkness.
And that was the last thing it saw. Because a blade that shot forward like black lightning pierced its eye not a moment later.
Mantis’ figure stopped moving, only its forelimbs continuing to shake slightly. But even that shaking soon came to an end as the last hints of vitality disappeared from its other eye.
With that, the first death among the test partic.i.p.ants had occurred.
But it didn’t seem to have any effect on the test partic.i.p.ant who was looking on.
“I wasn’t wrong.”
After watching the brief skirmish, Jacob muttered. He didn’t even look at Mantis’ corpse. Instead, his gaze remained on the Black Knight wrapped in black armour.
He’d never seen him before.
But Jacob knew of him. This was his first time seeing this Knight, but he’d heard of Knights who looked similar to him. He’d been told what they were.
Over and over again by the Beginning Wizard, one of the Twelve Void Lords.
“Black Knight of Death.”
One of the Four Knights of the Emptiness King*, who hadn’t been seen for the first time. (*: I thought it would just be ‘Void’ King(虛王), but author made it ‘Emptiness’ King(空虛王) instead. I guess this implies that he’s not exactly ‘king of the void’? I suppose we’ll find out.)
The last of the group had, somehow, appeared in the Corpse Ghost’s test.
Jacob grinned, showing off his teeth.
“If I defeat you, will that make me a King Candidate? Huh? Black Knight?”
Suddenly, the figure of the Black Knight disappeared. Jacob didn’t react. From the time the Black Knight reappeared right in front of his eyes to the time he swung his sword.
With a heavy sound, Jacob’s figure was sent flying across the forest, sprinkling blood. A huge scar was carved in the forest. It looked like a huge claw had scratched the ground.
Of course, in reality, Jacob’s body, which had been sent flying, was only a trace left from smashing the ground, trees, and rocks.
Afterward, the Black Knight responded in a quiet voice.
(TL: Not sure how this is a test anymore. The Corpse Ghost should have just killed them all on his own if he was gonna make them fight one of the four knights.
Also defeating one of the Knights makes you a candidate huh. Interesting.)
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