The System’s familiar female voice rang in his head the moment Jin-Woo uttered ‘Rise up.’
[‘Player’ Nurturing System delete code has been entered.]
[The System will now be deleted.]
Jin-Woo was now bestowed with the true power of the Shadow Sovereign, which meant that the System was now rendered irrelevant to him. So, it began deleting itself.
He felt as if he was saying goodbye to a nanny that looked after him since his childhood. He then suddenly thought of a question and asked the Shadow Sovereign.
“How did you include the female voice in the System?”
[….That’s actually the architect’s voice.]
The Sovereign was a bit dumbstruck by Jin-Woo’s sudden question, but eventually, added more explanation.
[That creature was from a hermaphrodite race. It’s possible for them to produce both male and female voices.]
He often wondered who the owner of that clear and cool voice was every time it accompanied the System messages, but to think, it was the same dude all along.
Feeling a bit sheepish, Jin-Woo averted his gaze, prompting the Shadow Sovereign to chuckle under his breath.
‘I also enjoyed watching that part of you, too.’
This man was indeed worth betraying the architect’s promise, even though trust was one of the most important things for the Sovereign. A small hint of sorrow briefly flashed past his eyes.
In the meantime, the System continued on with deleting itself step by step.
[All limitations imposed on the power ‘Player’ possesses has been lifted.]
[With the removal of the limitations, every Shadow Soldier of ‘Marshal’ grade enjoying the authority of the Sovereign will regain all of their original powers.]
[Marshal grade soldier Igrit’s powers have been restored in full.]
[Marshal grade soldier Beru’s Stats have been enhanced greatly.]
[The former Shadow Sovereign, ‘Osborne’, is returning to the world of eternal void.]
Jin-Woo silently listened to the messages before raising his head. He found the Shadow Sovereign, despite facing his own end, staring back at him with serene eyes.
Jin-Woo was able to understand all the pain and suffering the Sovereign had gone through because of the memories of the distant past shown to him within death’s territory. His goodbyes were, therefore, genuine and heartfelt.
‘Goodbye, my king.
I pray that you find the peaceful rest you dearly wished for so long in the land of eternal sleep.’
Finally, even the System message signifying farewell popped up.
[Will you really delete all System and System-related functions?]
Two icons of ‘YES’ and ‘NO’ blinked in the empty air.
Jin-Woo shifted his gaze, one last time, to the Shadow Sovereign. Even until the end, the former angel hadn’t lost that content smile of his.
Because, that would be the lasting image engraved in his heart, after all.
That was why Jin-Woo also smiled back.
With a smile, he issued his final input to the System.
A powerful wind pressure being generated at the same time with an explosion of light forced back the Sovereign of Beastly Fangs and the Sovereign of Frost. The former regained its posture first, its brows quivering.
[A Fragment of the Brilliant Light….?]
The body of the robe-wearing enemy was now burning in golden flames. That light was the symbol of the Rulers.
This b*stard was, without a doubt, a human that borrowed their powers. However, why were the Rulers aiding one of the most powerful Sovereigns out there, the Shadow Sovereign?
The Sovereign of Frost cried out.
[The worst calamity imaginable is approaching us through the body of the human you’re trying to protect! Are you planning to bring the apocalypse to this world by your own hands??]
The man wearing the robe didn’t even bother to reply. No, instead of an answer, he simply brought up both of his shortswords near his chin, clearly getting into a stance to fight. That was as good a sign as any of his intent.
The Sovereign of Frost’s expression hardened after confirming this man’s decision once more.
Its current opponent had borrowed the powers of the Rulers and activated Spiritual Body Manifestation. But, a human’s body couldn’t withstand a god’s power.
Unlike with the Sovereigns who had completely taken over the host’s body and ego, the one borrowing the Ruler’s power would soon crumble into dust and disappear.
‘Even then…. He’ll risk dying just to aid in the Shadow Sovereign’s revival?? Just what are the Ruler b*stards scheming now…?!’
The Sovereign of Frost looked at the Sovereign of Beastly Fangs. They exchanged suspicious gazes. There was no time. The beast-like man, the Sovereign of Beastly Fangs, nodded its head.
Instantly, the two Sovereigns split left and right to approach the robe-wearing man from both sides, before raining down a ceaseless barrage of attacks.
The claws of a beast and the spear made of ice tried to tear into the robe-wearing man countless times, but as if he was well versed in combat, he easily countered and repelled all incoming attacks with expert movements.
He would let the ice spear slip past him or block against the claws, but never forgot to throw out his counterattacks every now and then, as well.
This was the action of a warrior that survived a nonsensical number of battlefields throughout his life. A truly troublesome opponent, in other words. An enemy possessing great strength and technique disregarded his own life to block the advance of the two Sovereigns.
The robe-wearing man blocked the weapons that carried incredible amounts of magical energy belonging to two Sovereigns, and then, shoved them away once more.
The Sovereigns landed some distance away, correctly judging that it would be quite difficult to get a desirable result in time, at this rate.
As if the robe-wearing man had no purpose other than protecting the vessel of the Shadow Sovereign, he only stood his ground and didn’t chase after the Sovereigns.
[….Just what is your true identity?!]
The Sovereign of Frost was left dismayed and puzzled, but the robe-wearing man remained silent as usual.
It was then.
The Sovereign of Beastly Fangs suddenly reverted from its Werewolf appearance back to its human form and spoke up.
[I’m done with this.]
The sharp fangs peeking out of its lips went back inside, and its long claws also changed back to those of regular person’s nails. As it turned around to leave, the Sovereign of Frost hurriedly cried out to stop its comrade.
[We’ve come this far, yet you wish to leave now?! Are you insane!!]
[Can’t you sense it?]
The Sovereign of Beastly Fangs shook its head.
It possessed sensory perception far exceeding the norm and after picking up on the subtly-changing atmosphere, its body shuddered ever so slightly.
[The surrounding Mana has begun crying out. Soon, the Shadow Sovereign will arrive.]
The gaze of the Sovereign of Beastly Fangs went up to the sky before shifting back to the Sovereign of Frost.
[I’m taking my leave.]
[But, you promised to attack the Shadow Sovereign with me, did you not?!]
Veins bulged on the neck of the clearly-agitated ancient Ice Elf. Too bad, the Sovereign of Beastly Fangs remained rather collected in its reply.
[My promise was only applicable when the vessel remained a human. However, the real thing is about to come, so there’s no more reason for me to stick to our promise.]
[Even then, how can a King of all beasts run away with his tail between his legs?!]
The Sovereign of Beastly Fangs was triggered by those words and it angrily grabbed the collars of the ancient Ice Elf.
[You can’t understand me because you’ve never tasted the true power of the Shadow Sovereign, oh, Sovereign of Frost!!]
Back then, the Sovereign of Beastly Fangs got to witness the depths of the Shadow Sovereign’s powers when he faced off and survived against six huge armies consisting of the beast army, demonic army belonging to the White Flames, and lastly, the armies of the four Rulers.
Such a monster was about to show up here, so who cared about one’s dignity in such a situation? It was fine if others ridiculed the Sovereign for hiding behind the Dragon Emperor. It’d do anything if it meant surviving until the end.
It made the correct call to abandon its former comrade, the King of Demons, the Sovereign of White Flames, and to escape from the battlefield back then.
And now, it was not daring to risk encountering the real deal while trying to kill the Shadow Sovereign’s vessel.
The Sovereign of Beastly Fangs was the King of Beasts, whose power was founded upon the abundant life force of the surrounding creatures. And the power of death, capable of eating into that life force, was the most fearful and frightening thing in the universe.
Indeed, there was no time to waste its breath here. It sensed the terror of death approaching ever closer with every passing second, and quickly released the collars of the ancient Ice Elf to generate its personal Gate.
[I shall pray for your fortune.]
With that departing words, the beast quickly stepped into the Gate.
The Sovereign of Frost clicked its tongue unhappily as it watched the Gate gradually shrink before completely disappearing from the view.
[What a foolish b*stard.]
How could a fool that runs away in fear, even when there was a nearly dead prey right before its eyes, be deserving of the title of the Chaos World’s best hunter?
The Sovereign of Frost’s thoughts remained the same as before – the Shadow Sovereign had to die, no matter what. And the prey was as good as tip-toeing on the precipice’s edge. Nothing would change just because a hindrance suddenly showed up.
Indeed, there was no reason to borrow the hand of a coward. Deciding such, the Sovereign of Frost activated its own Spiritual Body Manifestation.
Although its stamina would greatly be consumed by maintaining this form, as this wasn’t the world it originally belonged to, there was a need to get the result as soon as possible before the Shadow Sovereign really made his appearance.
[Taste the terror of the bitter frost, you weakling!]
The Sovereign of Frost transformed into a gigantic ice storm that instantly covered up the land. The violently thrashing blizzard slammed into everywhere!
After morphing into an actual storm, the Sovereign of Frost coldly glared at the robe-wearing man below and roared out like a thunderclap.
[This is my true power!!]
Tens of thousands of ice spears created out of crystallised Mana in the air began raining down like falling snow. Each spear carried enough power to kill a person in one shot. That was how extremely terrifying this attack was.
Cars still remaining in the roads were swept away like worthless toys and buildings were torn apart by the blade-like winds. However, the robe-wearing man didn’t even budge from his spot and protected Jin-Woo behind him with all his being.
Countless wounds began appearing on the man facing off against the endless barrage of ice spear blizzard. The Sovereign of Frost didn’t let up with its attacks, not even for a second.
From the snow that had piled up to one’s knees, ice humanoids created from the magical energy rose up one by one. And soon, they numbered nearly several thousand!
The ice humanoids heard the command of their Sovereign and pounced simultaneously at the robe-wearing man. He desperately resisted against these humanoids by slicing them and shoving them away.
He was struck on the shoulder by an ice spear and wobbled unsteadily on his feet.
Even in the midst of this, the ice humanoids were still rushing at him relentlessly. The man forcefully strengthened his legs and gritted his teeth.
The mysterious man tenaciously hung on, and the Sovereign of Frost decided to once more enter the fray itself. It transformed into a crystallised form of sheer coldness and, while emitting white smoke from its entire body, it gallantly strode over to the man.
[Get out of the way!!]
Its loud roar prompted the ice humanoids to quickly scatter. The Sovereign of Frost stood before the man and opened its maw real wide.
Incredibly cold energy began gathering within its mouth next.
The air began freezing up. Ice even formed on the chin of the man visible underneath the hood.
At this rate, things would get very dangerous. The robe-wearing man understood this. However, if he tried to evade this attack, it’d hit Jin-Woo still lying on the ground head-on.
The man displayed no hints of evading even when facing off against the horrifying murderous intent oozing out from the Sovereign of Frost.
The facial expression of the Ice Elf crumpled unsightly.
‘A measly human simply borrowing the powers of a higher being through sheer luck dares to form such an insolent face at me!’
Finally, the horrifying aura of coldness was fired out from the mouth of one very enraged Sovereign.
The man crossed his arms in an ‘X’ to defend against the blast of cold air. Rather obviously, his arms had to bear the brunt of blocking the entire attack and they became frozen in an instant, unable to move again.
And then, truly vicious attacks continued on the man now unable to offer any resistance.
Pow! Pow!! Pow!!! Pow!!!!
Every time the Sovereign of Frost smacked the man, his upper torso visibly staggered. However, he never took a step back, not even once. Blood trickled down his legs and formed a pool beneath his feet, but he continued to endure.
[How dare a measly little human….?!]
The Sovereign of Frost tilted its shoulder and raised up its right arm up very high. In an instant, cold air gathered around the arm and transformed into a gigantic ice block.
‘Now, let’s see if you can withstand this!’
The Sovereign of Frost was planning to not only crush the man, but the vessel of the Shadow Sovereign lying behind him, too. It roused up its entire magical energy to slam down the block of ice.
The man watched the shadow of the falling ice block grow ever larger and raised both of his frozen arms above. Even if his arms shattered, even if his body was crushed, he must protect Jin-Woo.
He dragged out every ounce of power granted to him by the Ruler and his body glowed in the most brilliant golden radiance.
…There was a collision.
Strangely enough, although there was a collision, he didn’t feel any impact force from it at all.
The man opened his closed eyes and discovered someone else standing before him.
This figure was kitted out in jet-black armour. And then, there was the blood-red mane extending from the top of its helm all the way down to its back.
It was none other than the faithful servant of the Shadow Sovereign, Igrit. He defended against the massive block of ice before roughly shoving it away.
The Sovereign of Frost had to doubt its own eyes after that attack was perfectly defended against.
If the Marshal-grade Shadow Soldier made his appearance, then that could only mean….!
The ancient ice Elf flinched nastily in surprise and hurriedly shifted its gaze to the spot behind the robe-wearing man. Sure enough, the unconscious man who should’ve been lying there could no longer be found anymore.
Finally, the Sovereign of Frost understood what the Sovereign of Beastly Fangs had said before running away.
The atmosphere itself was trembling. Mana, the magical energy densely packed in the air, was resonating with the entrance of a transcendent existence.
Igrit turned around and politely knelt down and lowered his head.
Beru, having appeared alongside Igrit, screeched out loudly as if to announce the return of his master, and quickly knelt down while facing the same direction.
And between the two, Jin-Woo calmly walked out.
He took a sweeping look around the messily destroyed surroundings and threw a question at the Sovereign of Frost.
“Did the beast run away?”
Only after facing off against the true Shadow Sovereign did the ancient Ice Elf realise the reason why the King of Beasts made its hasty, scared escape earlier.
Even though it was the Sovereign of all things existing within the cold, it was still trembling pitifully before the lord of death standing before it.
Jin-Woo continued on.
“….I didn’t permit it.”
The Sovereign of Frost couldn’t understand what he meant and reflexively asked back.
[What was that??]
“I didn’t give my permission for it to run away.”
[What are you even on about…?]
Jin-Woo didn’t even give the ancient Ice Elf enough time to get flustered and simply closed his eyes. He rapidly expanded his sensory perception to his surroundings in search of the unique magic energy signature belonging to the Sovereign of Beastly Fangs.
The range of his perception exceeded past the border of South Korea in an instant and enveloped the whole planet.
He was deeply confident that, as long as the Sovereign of Beastly Fangs didn’t escape to the gap between dimensions and remained hidden somewhere on Earth, he’d located that b*stard no problem.
And his confidence was not proven to be baseless.
Jin-Woo smiled refreshingly and opened his eyes after discovering the presence of the Sovereign of Beastly Fangs.