Chapter 320. Darkness (2)
Garp mumbled as he ran; he was one of the underlings of the Dark King who’d been held captive in the depths of the War Fortress.
‘Damn… Didn’t expect it to be this strong.’
Garp stared at the smoking piece of gem he held in his hand.
With just a single use, he was able to blast a hole from the jail cell to the maze underground.
His mana was sealed and the jail cell was sturdy, so he had no means of escaping it normally.
This gem was a result of vastly advanced alchemy.
Garp thought of the being who had given him this gem.
— Look after the Dark King well. If you continue to do so, then… Sooner or later that Kang Hansoo guy will come find him. Kehehe… He’ll be curious to know how the world has changed. If you find him, then come find me… I will give you the same strength as the Dark King when you do.
This was why he’d stayed by the Dark King.
Since he had nothing to lose.
It was better to act like the Dark King’s lackey than going about randomly and getting killed anyway.
And in a corner of his mind, he slightly wished that Kang Hansoo wouldn’t come.
But he really did.
— Haha! He came! Kang Hansoo himself really came!
From the crazed shouts of the Dark King, there was a strong chance that Kang Hansoo really had arrived.
And soon he reached the <Flier>.
After he sent this off, then everything would be over.
He knew a lot would happen once he carried it out, but that did not matter to him.
Garp picked up the abyssal crystal he’d hidden next to the Flier.
Just enough to send one person up.
He just needed to use this and get on the elevator.
That being had told him:
— If you go up… Tell them my name. They’ll treat you well. They’ll give you strength, as well.
Garp smiled as he looked at the Flier soaring through the air.
‘Damn, that guy is also half mad.’
He started to calculate at a rapid pace.
‘… If that being comes into play, then things will get very dangerous.’
It was dangerous since he didn’t know the true identity of the being.
He didn’t know how and when that being would strike at them.
Which meant that he needed to direct Hansoo towards victories for now.
Since he’d also die if Hansoo were killed.
And to win?
The answer was simple.
Hansoo getting stronger.
And he himself getting stronger.
Zeus thought up to this point, and then asked Hansoo.
“… By the way, why didn’t you squeeze them dry?”
Zeus asked, his expression confused.
“I mean, think about it, those things are very useful.”
Him and the other eleven had formed an alliance to gain and increase the amount of slaves they had.
A person with a large territory could get stronger at a rapid pace.
From creating materials to going against the peculiar races, as well as collecting the abyssal crystals, they could rule over other people and force them to do so.
‘Yeah… We are Gods.’
That was why they’d thrown away their past names and renamed themselves.
It was a bit cringey, but they had followed the words one of them had said.
The normal adventurers paid them tribute, and the transcendents protected them.
A win-win for both sides.
Then Zeus realized that this could be a chance for him.
‘… Yeah. There’s no better place to gain more slaves than here.’
This location, where the abyssal race and the newcomers continuously poured out, was the best place to raise their individual strength in the most efficient manner.
Zeus spoke to Hansoo.
“Group them up and control them. Why are you busying yourself? You can just make them into your slaves and make your life easier.”
In this world, strength was basically the law.
The reason why he and the other eleven struggled so hard to get stronger was because they had already encountered even stronger beings.
But Hansoo merely scoffed at Zeus.
‘Crystals… they’re a convenient item.’
A convenient item, indeed.
And he wanted other people to use them to get stronger.
He was different than them.
He, who had already gained the rights.
And they, who needed the crystals to climb higher.
Of course he would also get stronger much faster if he used that spear.
He could probably go up through the Blue and Indigo zones faster as well.
But that wouldn’t do.
If he did this, the final barrier would block him.
‘You should know how lucky you are.’
If he needed crystals, Zeus would’ve long been dead.
Since they’d need to fight over the crystals anyway.
Zeus cried out as he felt the grasp on his throat tighten.
Though Zeus also preferred to think with his fists more often than not, this Hansoo guy was just too much.
Weren’t they in the same boat?
“Hey… Even if you did win, aren’t you being too unreasonable? Damned bastard…”
Hansoo had clearly said that he was useful.
If Hansoo really needed him, then shouldn’t he at least treat him like a human being?
Hansoo tightened his grip even more.
“Maybe there’s a misunderstanding. We aren’t equals just because we’re in the same boat.”
“Huhuuk! Haa… Haa.”
“I steer the boat, you row it. Got it?”
Zeus attempted to retaliate by using the Thunder King’s Road, but then realized he couldn’t due to the red energy surrounding his heart and his brain.
His rage instantly died down as he felt the energy surrounding his heart.
‘… I’m in some deep shit now. Damnit.’
Hansoo looked at Zeus’s eyes and realized that it was the right time to speak.
Hansoo sat next to Zeus and asked.
“… You seem to be in a hurry. Why?”
Zeus’ attitude was not that of an attacker.
But rather that of a defender.
Hansoo was curious at Zeus’s actions, who acted like something was bound to come chasing after them.
“You know, it’s possible that I could slow down, too. What do you know?”
Zeus frowned, but told Hansoo all he knew.
‘… Who could it be?’
He wondered which one of his enemies would want him dead that badly, but he couldn’t quite put a finger on it.
Someone that strong would’ve left an impression on Hansoo if they’d ever met.
‘Is it Jang Oh? If I hadn’t just seen that corpse, it wouldn’t be this confusing.’
He was puzzled by the mysterious corpse that could’ve been Jang Oh.
At this moment, Zeus spoke out carefully.
“… Let’s just go up, man. Damn it, it’s not that hard to go up.”
Though he had his own territory here, it wasn’t as important as his own life.
Though he didn’t know what lay above, two transcendents should be able to survive.
The Abyssal Crystals, the tickets for the way up, they were a joke to acquire anyway.
But Hansoo only chuckled.
“What are you thinking about?”
“I have friends who I know will help me.”
Zeus asked in shock.
‘… He had friends?’
That changed everything.
“Who? Can you bring them?”
Hansoo shrugged at Zeus’s words.
“Depends on how you do.”
Zeus grit his teeth as he realized who Hansoo’s ‘friends’ were: they were his own allies.
Hansoo continued to speak with a smile.
“Come on, say who your allies are.”
These guys knew each other for sure, and Hansoo wanted to know everything about them.
Where they lived.
Which skills they used.
What their weaknesses were.
What they did with their territories.
“I’ll add your friends if you do. I told you, I’m only steering the boat and you would be rowing… Isn’t it better to row together with your friends rather than alone?”
Zeus’s expression turned nasty.
And after a short period of thought, he spoke.
“F***… Fine! I’ll tell you everything! I’ll tell you, but… let’s use those guys over there at least!”
He started out calm, but he was shouting by the time his sentence ended.
Hansoo continued to just stare at him, so he started pointing at the War Fortress and shouted:
“Why! Why aren’t you using them!? You have to live, right? Huh? Look how useful they are! They can be laborers, scouts and… and even meat shields! Shouldn’t you utilize everything at your disposal to win!?”
Their opponents wouldn’t be easy.
No, his allies, all eleven of them, were tough nuts on their own.
He didn’t want to die yet.
“This is why I like you guys.”
‘Eres, you told me before. That… that I should not kill them.’
But a small voice came out from the depths of his mind.
— How long are you going to continue this clown act? To only amount to this much after two years of sleep…
Hansoo chuckled at the whispers of the Pandemic Blade’s seed.
‘This is all because of you anyway, it’s basically all done. Besides… who could it be?’
Hansoo looked to the west.
The Flier flew through the air and continued to head west.
Past a city with humans.
Past a village with a small population.
Towards the far west.
The capital of the Empire.
A man was standing where the Empire’s Capital had once been.
In the middle of the White Dragon Arena, where Tiamet had stood and absorbed the enemy.
The moment the flier landed, the stone-like expression of the man altered slightly.
‘What is this?’
The man walked up to the paper and read it.
The man’s expression brightened up.
‘Where have you been sleeping, Kang Hansoo?’
He had found him.
‘Good, it seems that I’ll be able to avenge you, Jang Oh.’
The man smiled as he smashed the white Rangkom’s Stake into the ground.
The mana node which flowed through the entire continent started to reverberate.