“Your highness, it is that man!”
The mage who led the Magic Brigade in the first battle shouted while looking toward Imperial Prince Adin. The tip of his finger was pointing to the largest golem.
“That man is the one who wounded Duke Huten!”
The swordsman with the black helmet.
The man who brought down the Sword of the Empire without using aura.
Adin’s gaze shifted over to the golem that the mage was pointing at and saw a person running up the golem. It was a presence so small that it seemed insignificant.
‘Is he a sword master, or a swordsman with special abilities?’
Adin was curious.
However, it was not a particularly important issue.
‘I’ll find out if I catch and torture him.’
It was a simple issue.
He opened his mouth and spoke to the grey orb.
“No. 1, capture the helmeted swordsman.”
The golem that Choi Han climbed on was the first golem that the Alchemists’ Bell Tower recreated.
The golems were named by size.
“No. 17, 18, and 19 will assist. The rest will advance toward Maple Castle.”
The golems began to move again according to their orders.
Golem No. 1 was the first and largest golem created since their extinction during ancient times. The alchemist sitting in the cockpit of the giant golem began to steer.
“This fly-like nuisance! Tsk!”
The alchemist frowned and couldn’t contain his irritation because he had missed his chance to act.
A huge fist flew towards the fly that was stuck to its body.
The fist opened.
A large palm struck down towards the human that was coming up its thigh.
The golem smacked its body like a human would when trying to catch a mosquito.
Choi Han couldn’t help but scoff.
“It’s like I’m a mosquito or a fly.”
He looked at the palm that hung above him and kicked the ground.
His body shot up between the golem’s fingers in a flash.
Right after that instant.
The loud sound of an impact was heard.
The sound wasn’t merely at the level of a palm smacking the body.
– Choi Han! Behind you!
‘I know, Raon.’
Choi Han twisted his body.
Another golem’s hand surged through the air towards him. Choi Han could see the cockpit of the slightly smaller golem. The alchemist within that cockpit sneered at Choi Han as if he had already caught him.
“Stepping into this fight is way out of your league!”
Golem No. 17’s palm flew towards Choi Han.
– Choi Han, there’s one on the right! The left side too!
Huge black golems blocked all sides of Choi Han’s path.
Darkness enveloped him as if it were night.
All he could see when he lifted his head was the black face of a golem.
One of the alchemists in the cockpit shouted.
“We got him! We’ll avenge Duke Huten!”
Why were humans afraid of dragons, monsters, and wyvern knights?
The alchemist thought the answer was simple.
‘It’s because humans are infinitely small existences in comparison to them.’
That was why the alchemists that steered the golems tried to trample the insignificantly small human.
At that moment.
“You don’t seem to know.”
Grin. Choi Han let out an uncontrollable laughter.
It was hilarious to see those who struck out only believing in their large size.
“They’re all humans in the end.”
It was humans that manipulated these things in the end.
Why were dragons and wyverns terrifying? Just because they were big?
It was because they were living creatures, like humans, who could emit such overwhelming pressure or murderous intent.
‘An empty object is an empty object in the end of the day.’
Choi Han twisted his body.
‘From the right first!’
The golem’s fist struck the empty ground.
The ground shook from impact.
Choi Han stepped on the golem’s shoulder and sprung up into the air.
‘Now behind you!’
Choi Han’s body spun once in the air.
His feet lightly stepped on the back of the golem’s hand that came from behind him.
The alchemist saw it.
The alchemist saw a person kick off the back of the golem’s hand and surge into the air like a butterfly, no, like a bird.
He looked free.
The alchemist had a gut feeling.
No longer could he-
The alchemist controlled the golem’s other arm.
Its huge hand quickly headed towards the air where Choi Han was floating.
‘He avoided it!’
However, Choi Han avoided the fast and strong hand.
He avoided it extremely easily.
‘Looks like there was a reason why the Sword of the Empire fell!’
Sweat formed on the pilot’s forehead. Meanwhile, he could clearly see the being that stepped on the hands and feet that attacked him to soar higher upwards.
The alchemist in golem No. 17 gulped at that moment.
“…Our eyes met.”
The black being stepped on the golem’s shoulder where the cockpit was and continued moving up.
He had a black helmet, a plain iron sword, and wore a light black attire.
There was only a small red glow in the midst of all the black.
No, there were red eyes.
“…Our eyes, our eyes met.”
He definitely saw red eyes between the slits of the helmet that covered the man’s face.
The alchemist felt a terrifying chill down his back at that moment, and his hands and feet went numb.
He felt fear for that one man.
However, that man just passed by the alchemist.
The alchemist in golem No. 17 realized something and shouted.
“No. 1! We have to protect No. 1!”
Choi Han was already treading on No. 1’s shoulders when the alchemist’s voice reached the grey orb in Imperial Prince Adin’s hand.
He then passed No. 1’s cockpit.
Choi Han saw the bewildered alchemist beyond the half-transparent glass.
Golem No. 1’s body twisted around at that same moment. Then its hands went towards Choi Han who was on its shoulders.
No. 1’s pilot realized something as he saw Choi Han keeping his balance and avoiding the golem’s hand.
This bastard knows!’
The helmeted swordsman headed towards the back of the neck.
“Your highness! That man knows where the core is!”
The core was reduced to a very small size and deliberately hidden on the back of the golem’s neck instead of in the heart, stomach, or head.
The alchemist knew, statistically speaking, that the helmeted swordsman couldn’t possibly pinpoint the core’s location in one go since even the back of the golem’s neck was several times larger than the size of a human being.
‘Besides, he doesn’t even have aura.
How does he plan to destroy the golem’s body and core when it’s difficult to even cut the golem’s body with aura?
Aura can’t destroy the core anyways!’
Something at the level of aura couldn’t destroy the core.
Only something that held the same attribute as the core or something that was several grades higher in strength could destroy the orb containing the core.
However, the alchemist had a strange, no, terrifying conviction.
‘He knows where he is going!
He’s certain about the location of the core!’
His unhesitating strides and movement said it all.
It was a big problem if that was the case.
He shouted without even knowing.
“Don’t touch the core! It’s dangerous to even touch it!”
‘The Vice Tower Master could even kill me!’
The shout resounded like a scream, but it didn’t even reach the helmeted swordsman.
The golem’s body was shaking.
Choi Han’s body headed towards one place.
– Choi Han! It’s in the lower central area on the back of the golem’s neck! You just have to go a little farther!
He could hear Raon’s voice.
Choi Han firmly grasped the handle of his sword. Raon spoke in a curious voice at that moment.
– …Choi Han? Are you hurt? Why are your hands shaking? Your body seems tense!
Choi Han’s fingertips were trembling as Raon pointed out. He put strength into his trembling hands.
Choi Han’s heart was beating wildly.
Why was his heart acting odd like this? He felt the aura in his body start to fluctuate at the same time.
Then he headed towards one direction.
Choi Han’s eyes looked to one place.
The lower central area on the back of golem No. 1’s neck.
The place Raon said that the orb containing the source of the golem’s power was located.
That was where Choi Han’s undivided attention and senses were focused.
His heart beat harder.
Choi Han drew his sword.
His sword and his hand desired the source of the golem’s power.
He realized it instinctively.
‘I can get stronger.’
‘The thing inside contains the last piece that I need to make my perfect darkness.
I don’t have to stand up against despair if I absorb this.’
Choi Han thrust his sword into the back of the golem’s neck without hesitation when he realized that.
Black aura spewed out from the embedded sword. The imperfect darkness that others couldn’t see penetrated into the golem’s body.
Thud. Thud. Thud.
Choi Han’s heart was pounding.
Golem No. 1’s body shook even more violently.
“No! Don’t touch the core!”
No. 1’s pilot’s face contorted as if he was about to cry.
In the end, the golem began to fall backwards.
It was a last-ditch effort to get rid of Choi Han.
Golem No. 17, 18, and 19 attacked from above.
However, Choi Han did not see them.
He thrust his sword deeper and deeper.
Then he heard it.
It was the sound of glass.
Choi Han immediately concentrated his aura to the tip of his sword and stabbed forward as if he were possessed by something.
The black aura, the imperfect darkness, broke the orb.
It was at that moment.
“…He broke it?”
No. 1’s alchemist’s eyes widened as he watched the control panel turn black.
His lips trembled.
There would have been a warning alert if it was a higher grade conflicting power.
However, it must have been something with the same attribute as the core since the alert didn’t occur.
“…A, a human has the despair attribute?”
‘And deep despair at that?’
The alchemist’s faced turned white with fear.
The core was broken.
“I, I’m so dead!”
It occurred when the alchemist jumped out of the cockpit.
A chilling sound filled the battlefield.
Then everyone saw it.
They saw the black smoke that was rising from the back of the golem’s neck.
A terrible cry rose together with the smoke.
Choi Han couldn’t move as if he was frozen. Black energy flowed through his sword using his imperfect darkness as a medium.
The despair of those who have been deprived of their lives.
– Choi Han!
Choi Han could feel the despair of others.
No, he was bombarded by the despair of hundreds of people.
– Choi Han!
His eyes stopped at where his sword was embedded.
Something began to flow up through the sword.
A liquid spilled out from the orb within golem No. 1 which had stopped moving.
It was dead mana.
However, it was different from the dead mana that he had encountered so far.
He could feel despair within it.
Darkness, extremely deep darkness, flowed out.
It was a mass of despair.
– Choi Han!
The liquid that flowed out a drop or two at a time dyed Choi Han’s ordinary iron sword black.
‘That thing is similar to dead mana. I should avoid it but…’
Choi Han was aware that he had to move but couldn’t move at all. His body wouldn’t move as if it was frozen.
He realized it instinctively.
How to obtain perfect darkness.
‘An easy way out when I don’t want to personally suffer despair.’
It was to become a monster that fed on the despair of others.
Choi Han’s heart and the aura within his body kept urging him to become a monster.
‘…No. This… this-’
It was as Choi Han’s face turned white.
– Choi Han!
“You stupid bastard!”
Choi Han gasped as he felt an invisible round body pushing him away from the sword.
He also felt someone’s hand grab him by his collar.
It was Raon who pushed him away from his sword.
Clopeh was the one who grabbed him by the collar.
Choi Han was separated from his sword and flew up with Clopeh holding his collar.
He felt the cool yet oddly warm and soft touch of reptilian skin on his cheek. It was Raon’s front paw.
“…I, I must have gone crazy for a second-”
I think I went crazy for a second.
It happened right as Choi Han was about to say that.
The terrible cry grew louder and louder. The black smoke could be seen spreading farther as well.
Black smoke covered the sky like a sky during a fire.
The Empire’s soldiers and the Whipper Kingdom’s soldiers that were not on the battlefield probably saw one giant puff of smoke.
However, that wasn’t the case.
They were extremely dark droplets of liquid that would not be visible to people outside the battlefield.
The total amount of liquid was small enough to be contained within a person’s two hands.
Choi Han started to speak.
“W, we have to get rid of that liquid.”
They had to get rid of that black liquid that was more terrible than dead mana.
That thing should not exist in the world.
“Raon, we have to inform Cale-nim.”
They had to let him know that there was something more terrible than the golems.
He needed to know that the Empire and Arm were truly crazy.
And that hell will really begin when that thing comes out into the world.
Choi Han’s eyes turned to the Empire’s side instead of the Whipper Kingdom’s side. He was looking for the person with red hair standing among countless other people on the dirt wall.
The red hair was hard to find. However, numerous amounts of the Empire’s troops could be seen moving around.
“The golem! The golem was destroyed!”
“Who is that person? He was the one who defeated Duke Huten?”
The Empire’s side fell into chaos.
All they could see was golem No. 1 that stopped moving abruptly and a lot of black smoke.
There was also the chilling sound.
“Won’t all the golems be destroyed at this rate?”
The strangely contorted expression on the Imperial Prince’s face could be seen the moment the fear-filled nobles looked towards him.
And there was a certain red-haired person watching the Imperial Prince.
“Young master-nim! This, this!”
Although Vice Captain Hilsman wanted to cheer at the sight of the golem being destroyed, he patiently suppressed such emotion and spoke to Cale while carefully looking at the Imperial Prince.
He was taken aback.
Cale was clutching the area over his heart.
“Young master-nim! Are you feeling ill again? Do you feel like you’re going to throw up blood?”
Vice Captain Hilsman’s voice could be heard.
– Human! What is it again? Choi Han and I found these terribly sad things!
Raon’s urgent voice was heard in his mind.
– Human, you have to hurry. This is a big problem! I, I think it’ll be hard for even me to handle! Do you think gramps can do it?
“Young master-nim, is your heart hurting?”
However, Cale couldn’t properly hear them.
There was a lot going on in his mind.
A terrible cry and black smoke.
It was the moment he could only see and hear those things coming from the stopped golem.
Thud. Thud. Thud.
His heart began to beat madly.
The inside of his body rocked violently.
‘What’s going on?’
It was then that the always quiet voice rang in his mind.
It was the Vitality of the Heart.
– It’s the same as that time.
Cale breathed in deeply at the beating of his heart and questioned what was going on.
This time the Indestructible Shield, the gluttonous priestess’s voice was heard.
– We had to fight thousands of golems back then. Golems are existences made of dead mana and suffering souls. The core’s liquid is a terrible and horrible thing.
Next the Sound of the Wind, the thief, chimed in.
– Golems. If you want to run away together from that then use my power. If you want to protect your people and your home, then use the power of the earth.
Use the wind to run away together or use the earth to protect everyone.
– And lastly.
Another voice stepped in at that moment.
It was the Sky Eating Water.
– And if you want to destroy them?
– Our names aren’t just for show.
Cale thought over her words.
If he wanted to, ‘destroy,’ then…
The Sky Eating Water whispered while he was thinking.
– What would we need to eliminate both the ‘golem’ and the ‘black despair’ within the dead mana?
There was only one answer.
Cale said the answer out loud.
The Fire of ‘Destruction’.
The Super Rock’s voice could be heard.
– Do you know why that cheapskate ended up setting fire to the northern area of the Western continent? Of course, it started for a different reason as well as to help the Sky Eating Water, and um, there was also the fact that this nutjob went crazy, but…
The time when the northern area of Western continent was set on fire.
It wasn’t an easy ordeal no matter how crazy you were.
However, the Fire of Destruction was only able to save it by going mad.
He was able to save the Western continent.
– This cheapskate was the one who eliminated the greatest amount of black despair and golems in the Western continent. That was why he was a hero at least to all of us.
Fire and light. The one who surrounded himself with the fiery thunderbolt and used fire and light to fight against despair.
– The true power of the complete fire is to destroy or purify everything.
Destruction or purification.
Nature’s element of ‘fire’ was somewhere that contradictory existences coexisted.
Cale heard the voice of the fiery thunderbolt that had been quiet until now.
Its voice was serious for the first time.
– Golems and black despair are existences containing the despair of those who have been deprived of their lives. Their deaths weren’t natural but the result of black magic.
‘…Black magic? Not alchemy?’
The voice that lost its lightness was infinitely low.
The Fire of Destruction spoke its will and beliefs for the first time.
– We need to get rid of that damn thing. No one’s lives should be taken away like that. People need to protect their lives.
Cale could feel the five ancient powers roaring together for the first time.
They all shouted at the same time.
– Get rid of that!
Cale relaxed his grip on his chest.
“Young master-nim, are you alright?”
– Human, are you ok?
Raon and Hilsman saw the expression on Cale’s face.
One side of Cale’s mouth crookedly crept up.
‘To think that these damn ancient powers and I have the same thought.’
He liked it very, very much.
‘Yeah, we have to get rid of that. It’s not in my character to let that go.’
One of the powers that Cale had gathered started to lift its restrictions after seeing that his new owner’s will matched his former owner, the hero’s will.
Those powers were originally ones that didn’t need a plate.
The flame of the one called the greatest ancient warrior began to rise again within Cale’s body.