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“Son of a…”
“What the hell is all this?!”
“Skeletons? Why are tower monsters here…?”
San Francisco’s AT&T Park stadium.
The baseball stadium designed to house tens of thousands of spectators was also being utilized as another evacuation center. Needless to say, a number of awakeners were protecting it as well.
Countless skeletons had also suddenly appeared around the stadium.
“Did a dungeon nearby become an outbreak?”
“There are just too many of them for a single dungeon outbreak, don’t you think?!”
“At least tens of thou—no wait, can it even be hundreds of thousand?”
“The whole of San Francisco must be in this state then.”
While looking at the skeletons rushing in at them in ridiculous numbers, the awakeners all formed deeply fed-up expressions.
As a monster, a skeleton wasn’t really all that much to write home about. It was considered a weakling that might show up in either red-colored or yellow-colored dungeons.
However, the current issue was their sheer numbers.
There were so many of them that even if a single awakener took on one hundred of them, it would still not be enough to cut their number. Not only that, but skeletons also weren’t alive, to begin with, so they felt no fear about their death.
“Dammit. How are we supposed to stop all these things?”
“Hey, hold on. Wait a minute.” One of the allied awakeners raised his hand and addressed the others. “Don’t you think that something is strange here?”
The skeletons that were heading toward the evacuation center began displaying a different response. The majority of the monsters shuffling closer while shaking their bony bodies around suddenly stopped moving.
The awakeners guarding the evacuation center also stopped moving because of that. They held their breaths and glared at the skeletons.
“All of you…”
A voice could be heard.
The tens of thousands of skeletons all lost their strength and collapsed on the ground. The monsters that were once heading menacingly toward the evacuation center transformed into mere piles of bones.
“W—what’s going on here?”
“So suddenly…But why?”
“Has there been any damages to this side?”
The awakeners that were planning to step up to the front and fight off the skeletons quickly turned their heads after hearing that voice.
A man with a familiar face stood before them.
“Y—yes, sir! Everything is fine, sir! No problems here!”
It was as if they had transformed into soldiers as they stood straight at attention and replied back to Su-hyeun.
“The undead that suddenly appeared all vanished again just now. I don’t know what’s going on here, but…”
“Did you only see skeletons?”
“Yes, you’re correct.”
Su-hyeun furrowed his brows slightly at that reply. There were several evacuation centers in the city, so he decided to stop at the nearest one first, but it turned out to be a miss.
He wasn’t at Adel Castle’s location either.
This also didn’t mean other Lichs were present. There was no way of knowing just where they were hiding, but he could make a guess on what they were planning to do here.
Probably busy drawing the “lines.”
They would be performing the preparations necessary to draw a massive magic circle that encompassed the whole of the United States.
The most important source of power for the Lichs, as well as the Lich King, was the life force extracted when a person died. The magic circle, in addition, possessed the ability to absorb the life force of all dying humans.
It’s different this time.
In the previous timeline, the Lich King used the same process to cause the eventual destruction of the massive country of China.
Back then, Su-hyeun couldn’t do anything. His strength, combined with the Chinese awakeners’, was insufficient to stop the Lichs, their undead army, and the Lich King.
Although the dastardly Lich King had somehow been felled sometime later, China was already gone, and one-third of the global population had vanished along with it.
The Lich King.
The number of people that bastard killed was second only to Fafnir.
“Soon, more people will show up this side. If the undead appear again, don’t push yourselves and focus on defending the evacuation center.”
“What do you mean, more people?”
“I have to get going now.”
Just before something could be said, Su-hyeun’s figure disappeared from their view.
The awakener that was talking with him stood there with a dumbfounded expression, wondering just what kind of a storm had passed by.
But just then, a shadow was cast above their heads.
“Is this an evacuation center?”
It was cast from a huge dragon covered in blue scales. Several people were riding on the creature’s back.
“South Korea’s S-Rank awakener…”
It was the awakener who commanded divine beasts, Song Hyeong-gi. He had shown up at this evacuation center along with numerous divine beasts in tow.
Around the same time…
Similar events were happening in various other evacuation centers as well.
* * *
Hundreds of spears rained down, and every time each spear landed, dozens of undead were turned into powder and dissipated.
Gordon Rohan’s figure turned. Right at the same time, a sword that was aiming to stab him from behind collided with his spear.
The moment their weapons collided, Gordon kicked the chest of a Death Knight that tried to pounce on him.
The undead’s body was forced back a long way. In the brief window of time, it tried to regain its balance, a spear that flew out from Gordon’s hand went straight through the Death Knight’s head.
The spear containing a massive amount of magical energy blew past, and the Death Knight’s body shattered into pieces.
Afterward, Gordon looked down at his own hand that blocked the undead’s sword attack just now.
The weightiness he felt was quite considerable. Several fairly high-level undead hid among the skeletons.
More importantly, though…
“Are you going to keep watching?”
The Lich King hadn’t stepped forward yet.
“What’s the matter? Scared?” Gordon continued.
“How laughable if that’s your attempt at provocation. I’m sure you already know what my end goal here is.”
Gordon furrowed his brows deeply at the Lich King’s reply.
A monster should obviously lack intelligence and follow their base instincts to try and kill humans. However, the Lich King was completely different from all the other monsters Gordon had encountered so far.
It’s shaving away at my stamina.
This bastard was waiting for him to tire himself out first.
Indeed, probably the most effective method of dealing with a powerful individual was to send out countless underlings first.
It wouldn’t be a problem if the guy was a weakling, but…
Gordon looked at the Lich King that was floating up in the air while looking back at him.
But it doesn’t look that way, does it?
The gigantic undead army present had been summoned by the Lich King before his eyes. That alone was enough proof of the creature’s abilities.
Not only that, but most attacks also didn’t even work on the damn monster. Gordon had already tried flinging a few spears at it, but they were all intercepted by a “wall” surrounding it.
“That guy is trying to wear me out first.”
Gordon wiped away the sweat trickling down his forehead.
At the same time, two more Death Knights aimed for the opening and pounced on him from the front and back.
Gordon spun his body and took a big swing with his spear. The Death Knights were blown away, and at the same time, his figure flew up.
Gordon’s figure flew toward the Lich King once more.
And so, the moment the spear in his hand gleamed brightly…
Hiss, buzz, rumble—
Blue flames exploded between the Lich King and Gordon Rohan. The latter had failed yet again to penetrate past the semi-transparent barrier surrounding the former.
Ruuuumble, boom, boom, boom—!
Fingers made out of nothing but bones snapped sharply, and several explosions went off all around Gordon. He used the pure-white wings on his back to protect himself and quickly put some distance between him and the Lich King. He scanned his surroundings and saw that dozens of skeletons had fallen to the ground.
“Didn’t I tell you that it’s useless?” the Lich King spoke in an arrogant tone once more. “Unless all of my followers have been killed off, it will be impossible for you to even touch me.”
“What a seriously f*cked-up barrier this is.”
A sigh automatically escaped from Gordon’s mouth.
The protective barrier cast all around the Lich King was, according to the explanation provided by the bastard, connected to the “lives” of the surrounding undead.
The magic sent all impact forces affecting the barrier to the undead. Meaning, all the undead creatures the bastard had summoned needed to be defeated first before the barrier could be penetrated.
But, as expected…
Gordon thought he could figure it out after experimenting around for a bit.
“If you flip that around, it means that as long as I can shatter that barrier of yours, I can still end everything without fighting against this army, correct?”
He decided to look at it from the other side.
It’s not the case of “needing to defeat all the undead first to break that barrier” but “having enough power to penetrate the barrier to naturally end the undead army.”
“You are certainly not wrong.”
“How kind of you. In that case, no need to complicate this, right?”
Gordon raised his hand high.
Not too long after that, tens of thousands of spears in the air began combining into a single shaft.
A gigantic mass of magical energy could be sensed next.
“That’s a familiar sensation.”
This would be dangerous. The Lich King finally recognized that and, for the first time ever, uncrossed its arms and raised them up.
At that exact moment…
Along with the flick of Gordon’s hand, a massive spear broke through the cloud cover and descended to the ground below.
* * *
The world was dyed in pure white.
Gordon, with his entire body sweating profusely, rubbed his eyes. Despite him being the one who caused that flash of light, he also ended up being affected by it.
Soon, the whitened world reverted back to how it was. And then, he could see it.
He let out a sigh of relief.
The undead army of tens of thousands around him were all collapsed on the ground, unmoving.
The impact force transmitted from the barrier protecting the Lich King to the rest of the undead caused this.
That single powerful attack managed to bring down the entirety of the undead army.
This was the strongest skill in Gordon Rohan’s arsenal.
And that guy managed to block it back then.
Only one person had defended against it so far—Kim Su-hyeun.
Su-hyeun managed to block this skill back in the previous Ranking Wars, and the moment the attack in which Gordon poured half of his strength to perform ended in failure was also the moment his defeat had been decided.
It was the same story this time as well.
Gordon swore under his breath.
While he muttered unhappily, he took a look at the undead army that was rising once more one by one all around him.
“This is cheating.”
He was being serious.
The undead army that could revive again even after being defeated—he had heard about such a thing quite often but never really believed it.
Of course, he too had faced the undead several times during his trials. However, those were different from the stories and didn’t possess any abilities to revive themselves even after being defeated.
But now, the scenes from those stories were playing out in real-time, and Gordon watching it couldn’t help but almost lose all of his enthusiasm.
“I shall praise you.”
A voice loud enough to rock the world resounded. At the same time, a gigantic amount of magical energy enveloped the surroundings. From Gordon’s perspective, after he had seen all of this, it felt like his energy wanted to abandon him.
“This is the first time I had to deal with a human like you. A man who can use the powers of the Celestial King? Honestly speaking, I’m truly stunned.”
The voice sounded calm and unperturbed.
Gordon raised his head and stared up at the Lich King.
Half of the latter’s skull had been shattered, and at a casual glance, it looked almost dead. And it would have been so if it weren’t for the fact that this was a Lich, not a regular living human being.
Of course, that was all ifs and buts.
This creature was not human but a Lich. Unless its Life Vessel had been shattered or its whole body had turned into powder, it would never die.
It’s not gonna work out.
Should I run from here?
That was the first time such a question popped up in his head, but it got erased soon afterward.
“No way. It’ll be too embarrassing.”
Gordon smirked deeply, which didn’t really suit his current situation.
Even if he ran, there was nowhere to run off to, and there was the Gordon Tower behind him to consider.
He had already heard what the end goal for this bastard was. The death of all living beings—what an insane notion that was.
Gordon held the spear in his hand once more.
He no longer had enough strength left to create tens of thousands of spears and blanket the sky with them, unlike before.
“Well then, let’s see…”
But just as he got ready to move again…
“What the hell,” Gordon said with a hollow chuckle. His raised arm faltered down to his side. “You’re freaking late, you slowpoke.”
Sounds of footsteps reverberated within the undead army.
“Well, then. From this point on…”
[The trait “Necromancer” has been activated.]
[By using “Death Aura” you can now see or command the dead.]
“All of you will serve me.”
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