Blood was dripping.
Cale whose body was bound by the branches looked out through the gaps in the branches only to see red.
The middle-aged man wearing glasses was bleeding, while blood was flowing from Choi Han’s cheek as well. Of course, it was not Choi Han’s blood.
Forget getting injured, Choi Han looked as clean as someone who had just washed their face a minute ago.
The middle-aged man was shaking as if he was having trouble breathing.
Choi Han was still looking at Cale and smiling innocently.
‘…This vicious bastard, no, senior.’
Cale awkwardly asked while looking at Choi Han’s happy face.
What could have happened while he had been unconscious?
‘Why are the Dark Elves running around excitedly and Raon raising his voice while remaining invisible and destroying the maze walls? …And why the hell are you covered in blood?’
“I’m not sure.”
Cale’s heart thumped at the very slow response. He was scared.
“…How long was I out for?”
‘Thirty minutes? No. It must have been at least an hour to cause this much chaos.’
He then waited for Choi Han to respond.
“Mm. I think it’s been about ten minutes.”
“What? Ten minutes? You crazy bastards-!”
Cale could not speak anymore.
‘They caused this much chaos in ten minutes? No, that’s fine, they did a good job, but…!’
Cale seemed to forget that he was the one who originally turned the maze into a mess as he started to frown.
“It was a very long time.”
Choi Han slowly responded as he lowered his hand.
The fainted middle-aged shaman weakly fell to the ground.
‘…This scary…anyway, vicious punk.’
Cale’s face turned pale.
However, Choi Han started to think about the things that happened while looking at the pale Cale.
* * *
The moment the strand of white light had struck down…
The Dark Elves, Elves, assassins, and even the enemies all stopped moving and looked toward the light.
“…Young master Cale-!”
Dark Elf Tasha subconsciously shouted.
She saw a thick and disgusting black branch that had lost a portion of its tip after being burnt.
A person’s entire body except their head was bound by that branch.
The head of that person slowly lowered.
Their head weakly lowered.
That person was Cale Henituse.
The person who was already pale from the start looked terrible standing there limp with his eyes closed.
Jopis who had been inside the wooden nest jumped up.
She could finally see that pale person properly.
She realized something at the same time.
The only reason that that pale and weak person did not seem weak this whole time was because of his gaze.
He had a reliable gaze that made his allies feel as if they had nothing to fear. It was because of that energetic and sparkling gaze.
It was also because of his brusque and blunt yet strong voice that calmed them down.
Jopis suddenly felt her mind blanking out as she became anxious.
Cale Henituse was the Commander for all of their side.
He was the person guiding them from the center.
It was only natural for their side to turn chaotic if such a person fainted.
‘What do we do?’
As Jopis finally managed to have that thought after a few seconds…
“Why do you look so stunned?”
The sneering Elisneh swung her staff.
Jopis could see exactly what she was trying to do.
Some things shot forward as she shouted.
Three puppies with Fluffy at the center quickly ran toward the black tree.
It could not be helped.
The black branches quickly started to move.
They were extremely fast. They were moving so quickly that they managed to move before Choi Han who was the closest to Cale could get to him.
However, people could not just sit back and watch.
“We must save the Commander-nim!”
“Burn that tree down now!”
The Elves charged forward in shock. The fake World Tree was as evil as Elisneh to them; it was something that could destroy their home.
Their commander was captured by such an existence.
Healer Elf Pendrick gasped.
He remained alone in the rear as he did not have any Elementals while the other Elves charged forward with their Elementals. That was why he could see things more clearly than they could.
Choi Han was running in the front. He could also see a large mana hand that he was certain belonged to Raon-nim.
Pendrick stealthily started to move after seeing the movements of those in the front.
Choi Han urgently took out his sword.
“You’re too late.”
He heard Elisneh’s sneering comment as he did that. Choi Han could see Cale who was imprisoned inside this black tree branch cage.
The branches were so tightly interwoven that Choi Han would need to slash the tree to get Cale out.
Naturally, Choi Han planned to slash the tree.
– I will rip it apart!
Raon tried to grab the branch with his mana hands as well. He was going to rip it apart.
Elisneh laughed as she warned them.
Her voice did not sound urgent, in fact, it sounded as if she was daring them to do it.
– It’s fine! I will ignore her! I just need to destroy everything!
“Can’t you see it?”
Choi Han lowered his sword.
He then slowly turned his head.
Raon’s mana hand was gone as well.
“You finally saw it?”
Elisneh started to smile. Choi Han looked toward her with a stoic expression.
– …She’s evil! Putting dead mana by the human! I will destroy everything!
He heard Raon’s angry voice.
Inside the wooden cage… There was a black liquid at the tip of a very thin branch.
Anybody would be able to tell that it was dead mana.
That sharp black branch was stopped right by Cale’s neck.
No matter how quickly Choi Han swung his sword or Raon pulled the branches off…
The chances of that branch with dead mana stabbing Cale’s neck first were higher.
Choi Han turned his gaze.
He could see the stone spears that were serving as the stone imugi’s scales and body start to lose strength.
The stone spears fell to the ground.
It remained in the shape of an imugi, but it was not moving at all.
The fire surrounding Cale had long since disappeared as well.
‘Cale-nim cannot protect himself.’
That was why if that dead mana liquid pierced through Cale’s neck right now…
It would be very bad.
He heard Elisneh’s voice.
“If you bastards move, your leader will die.”
Jopis, the Elves, the puppies, and the rest of Cale’s allies all stopped running and stood in place in shock without knowing what to do.
Choi Han lowered his sword and looked around at each of their allies.
Tasha and Mary. He then saw Beacrox and Ron.
Elisneh continued to speak at that moment.
“Oh, by the way, the thunderbolt may fall on you guys at any time as well. All of you can end up like your leader.”
Her smiling expression looked full of grace.
Choi Han’s eyes sparkled at that moment.
– Choi Han! This is weird!
He heard Raon’s voice in his mind as he stood with his back to the tree cage.
– I was looking at the branch pointed at the human’s neck, but the branch is weird! It’s shaking and doing its best to move away from the human!
The branch pointed at Cale was trying to move away.
It seemed to be rejecting the notion of harming Cale.
– It might be possible to chat with this tree too! I will try it!
Raon had seen Cale chat with the World Tree. He carefully and stealthily put his front paw on the World Tree since he was invisible.
He might be able to hear its voice.
Raon’s eyes that nobody could see at the moment started to sparkle.
He started to smile.
– Choi Han! The fake World Tree is asking you to get rid of the black staff in the Illusionist’s hand.
Raon continued to speak.
Choi Han slightly started to smile as well.
It then quickly returned to normal as if nothing had happened.
However, there was someone who had seen it.
It was an expert who did not miss that short reaction.
It was the person Choi Han had looked at last. It was Ron.
He immediately mouthed without making a noise.
‘Do as you wish.’
Ron heard Elisneh’s voice at the same time.
“All of you will see your greatest despair if you take a single step. I will gladly send such gifts down from the sk-”
Elisneh could not finish her sentence.
A shaman urgently reached his hand out.
The wind horse quickly twisted its body. That made Elisneh who was on top of it move left as well.
Just off to the right side of Elisneh’s face…
She felt a strong gust of wind brush past where she had just been standing.
Elisneh turned her gaze toward where the wind had brushed past her.
She saw a large stone spear cutting through the air.
The maze wall that the stone spear crashed into broke down while making a loud noise.
“You-! Do you want to fall into an illusion again?!”
Elisneh started to frown and she looked toward the person who threw the stone spear.
However, Choi Han who threw the stone spear sighed and slowly started to move.
He walked away from Cale. He was heading toward the enemies.
“If-, if he does that-”
‘He shouldn’t do that!’
An Elf tried to approach Choi Han who was provoking Elisneh.
However, she stopped moving after feeling someone put their hands on her shoulder before she took a single step.
“Look behind you.”
Elf warrior Jeet had stealthily whispered in her ear.
She finally felt the auras around her.
Jopis’s side, the Dark Elves and Mary… Even Ron’s side had been quiet ever since earlier. They were silent and did not make any special movements.
However, the Elf could tell that they were ready to attack at any moment.
Her gaze then moved from Ron to Choi Han.
The Elf realized something.
The person they should follow after Commander Cale was Choi Han.
Elisneh’s side realized that as well.
“…Do all of you wish to die?”
She looked toward the approaching Choi Han in disbelief.
Two fire tigers came out of a shaman’s hand and charged toward Choi Han.
Choi Han lowered his sword and raised his head.
He started to speak while looking at Elisneh.
“It looks like you’ve misunderstood something.”
Elisneh started to frown.
However, Choi Han did not stop and continued to speak.
“Above us is your sky?”
The ceiling of the maze where she had cast her illusion… Choi Han looked toward it and sighed.
Elisneh had called that place her sky.
She had also said that they were under it.
However, there was something she misunderstood, something she had missed.
“You’re so stupid.”
“Do you think you can live in the air forever?”
Choi Han started to smile.
The ground started to shake.
The charging fire tigers flinched.
It was the same for everyone else in the maze as well.
The fake World Tree and Choi Han… In the empty area between the two of them…
Black spears started to appear one by one in thin air.
One, two…. Ten….
The number of spears was quickly increasing close to 100.
Elisneh instantly realized the source of that power.
‘It’s the Dragon.’
She started to shout out of reflex.
“Do you want Cale Henituse to die?!”
She then instantly swung her staff.
She then became anxious.
She groaned as she looked down at her hand. The staff definitely activated. However, a resisting force flowed through and attacked her.
She turned toward the black tree.
“…It got out of my control?”
The black tree was resisting her control.
The branch pointed at Cale’s neck slowly moved away even as it was shaking.
The branches that were tightly binding Cale also released and looked more as if they were cradling the unconscious Cale.
The moment Elisneh’s pupils started to shake…
– Hehe. Choi Han! This is what the black World Tree said!
Raon was speaking to Choi Han with excitement.
– It said a part of the dead mana inside its body was purified when its branches burned up! That’s why it thinks it can move according to its own will now! That’s what the fake World Tree told me!
Elisneh had ordered the black tree to bind the burning Cale. A white light had struck Cale at the same time.
The Fire of Destruction had burned the black tree and purified a portion of it in the process.
It had given the fake World Tree a little bit of freedom.
– But it can only resist the control for thirty minutes!
Raon continued to shout with excitement.
– But Choi Han. You know it too, right?
That was the case.
– Thirty minutes is plenty! Let’s destroy all of them and get out of here with the human! I, I will open a path through the maze!
‘Yes, that’s plenty of time.’
Choi Han started to laugh as he thought about Cale who was cradled in the tree behind him.
Did Cale chat with the black tree while holding its branch instead of burning it up right away because he was trying to purify it?
Had Cale used the Fire of Destruction to purify the black tree when he used his ancient power to push him and Raon away as the white light struck down on him?
“ …Really. He’s so amazing.”
Choi Han said that as he looked forward toward the enemies standing past his allies.
– Alright! Choi Han!
The tens of black spears quickly started to move.
The shamans instantly cast barriers of fire and wind with Elisneh at the center. The knights quickly hid inside those barriers as well.
Baaaaaaaang- baaaaaaaaaaaaaang- bang!
However, they soon had to turn their gazes toward the direction of the noise.
The spears had not aimed for them.
“You crazy bastards!”
The black spears were ruthlessly destroying the maze walls.
The entire maze was starting to be destroyed.
The maze walls fell one after another until the maze disappeared and just a flat open plain was left behind.
Tasha started to move once she heard the explosions.
Choi Han lifted his sword back up as well.
The tip of his sword pointed at the shamans one by one.
“Thirty minutes. I’ll get you one by one during that time.”
The tip of his sword last pointed at Elisneh who was groaning while holding the staff that wouldn’t listen to her.
Choi Han calmly started to explain.
“One by one. I’ll get rid of all of you.”
Choi Han’s feet kicked off the ground as he shot forward.
* * *
The first shaman was currently fainted under Choi Han’s foot.
Choi Han gave a short explanation of the situation to Cale who was looking at him with a pale expression.
“We just flipped everything over. Did we do a good job?”
It was good that they flipped everything over, but…
Cale’s expression turned odd and he was unable to say anything.
It was at that moment.
“Aigoo. I barely made it here.”
They suddenly heard a voice.
Cale got scared and looked behind him.
An Elf was slowly approaching them from the maze walls behind the World Tree that Raon had not destroyed.
Pendrick smiled gently as he approached them.
“You really did wake up. Young master-nim, you truly are a great individual who would not even submit to illusions.”
‘What’s up with this bastard?’
Pendrick was huffing as if he was out of breath even as he continued to approach them. He had struggled stealthily getting here.
He then took something out of his pocket that was wrapped in silk.
Pendrick slowly opened the silk.
“Young master-nim. This is a sword the World Tree-nim gave me to give you.”
“…A sword? This thing?”
Cale looked inside the silk before looking up at Pendrick and asking.
“Isn’t this just a branch of the World Tree?”
“No, sir. It is a sword.”
‘A sword my ass. What’s up with this wooden skewer?’
Something that looked like a wooden chopstick was inside the silk.
However, Pendrick was serious.
The World Tree had called him over and stealthily informed him before he left with Cale.
“Young master-nim. The World Tree-nim said to use this if you were in danger. If you stab this into a living being’s heart and cover it in blood, it’ll become a great weapon-”
Choi Han’s eyes opened wide as he listened.
‘There was such a weapon?’
It sounded like a weapon that would come out of a legend. The Sword of the World Tree. The name already weighed heavily on their hearts.
Cale cut Pendrick off at that moment.
“What kind of nonsense is that?”
Cale pointed to the battlefield.
“Does it look like we’re in danger? They’re destroying everything.”
The underground maze was being destroyed into pieces.
It was not just chaotic, it was extremely chaotic.
Pendrick had recalled the World Tree’s words as soon as he saw Cale faint earlier. That was why he had left the battlefield and stealthily took a roundabout way to get here.
However, the situation was not very dire once he got here.
He quietly wrapped the sword back inside the silk.
However, he had to stop moving once he heard Cale’s voice.
“Give it to me.”
“I thought you said she told you to give it to me.”
Cale looked at the confused Pendrick and thought about the World Tree.
‘It’s a sword that needs you to stab a living being’s heart and cover it in blood? What a damn rotten item.’
Cale found it weird that such an item suddenly appeared, but it wasn’t odd especially after hearing about the Gate to the Demon World.
Cale just found it hard to understand the World Tree’s intentions.
He needed to be careful about such items. He also needed to hear more about this wooden skewer from Pendrick or the World Tree.
Of course, he would have to wait to hear about it because things were chaotic right now.
Because of that…
“So hand it over.”
He decided to hold onto it for now.
He heard a voice in his mind at that moment.
– Should I fight again?
The Super Rock cautiously asked.