Chapter 40. The Auction (3)
“…” Seo Jun-Ho’s eyes fluttered. He was organizing his thoughts after reading the delinquent woman’s memories.
‘She’s no different from the bony guy.’
Their knowledge was limited; they basically knew nothing about the Fiend Association.
‘They talked big about the Watchdogs, but in the end, these guys were expendable too.’
But it was too early to be disappointed. Their boss, Skeleton Mage Arma, was still around.
‘If it’s that bastard, he must have some good info.’
Seo Jun-Ho’s line of thought was understandable.
‘He’s the disciple of the King of Corpses, Nazad Hallow of the Nine Heavens.’
Even the black skeletons attacking the auction hall were gifts from Nazad.
“What should I do now?” Thanks to the memories, he knew where Arma was at the moment. ‘Point B’ was their room at the hotel they were staying at. “If I went there directly…I would be crazy.”
Arma had set up layers and layers of magic traps. Seo Jun-Ho’s magic resistance wasn’t strong enough, and he would die the moment he stepped in.
Seo Jun-Ho clicked his tongue, annoyed.
Of course, he wasn’t about to let Arma go like this.
“If I can’t go in, I should bring him out.” He pulled off the Vita from the delinquent woman’s wrist and after easily unlocking it, he sent a message to Arma.
—Some weirdo’s chasing me right now. It doesn’t seem like Seo Jun-Ho or someone from Goblin.
—I still have it. This bastard’s persistent…I’ll leave it in an alley next to the hotel. Find our sign.
He didn’t send a message asking him to help.
‘This girl’s not the type to do that.’
The skinny man was the same. They cared more about the team than their own safety. If he sent such a message, Arma would immediately become suspicious.
As soon as he received the unsuspecting message, Seo Jun-Ho tossed the Vita to the ground.
“Get rid of it.”
The sound of canine chewing resonated across the roof.
“…” The hotel room was dark. Not a single light was on. Arma waved his hand and the hologram messaging app shut off. He looked down on the city, lost in thought.
‘Just who is chasing her?’
The only people he could think of were the Goblin Guild and Seo Jun-Ho. But when she said that it was neither of them, things only got more complicated.
‘Then there’s a third party that we didn’t expect.’
He was displeased. Like most magicians, Arma wanted all things to fall within his expectations. He let out a light sigh and waved his hand again. The magic circles hidden around the room disappeared like smoke. He also erased his own traces of magic before he left the hotel. He looked around the nearby building until he found a familiar sign. It was a tiny mark that wouldn’t be visible to most.
The unique symbol that the Watchdogs used. There weren’t more than 5 people who knew the symbol on both the 1st and 2nd floors. Knowing this, Arma relaxed a bit.
‘I can sense it.’
The feeling got stronger as he entered the alley. A strong magic energy came from a trash can. A simple lid couldn’t mask the strength of a top-grade magic core.
Arma lifted the lid and lifted the glistening gem.
“It’s like ice.” It was the first time that Arma was seeing Heaven’s Breath in person. He tilted his head.
‘Were the rumors exaggerating? It’s not as beautiful as I expected.’
In fact, he felt that it was rough and unrefined. He narrowed his eyes.
“But…why is a magic core so cold?” Doubt was starting to form in his mind.
The Heaven’s Breath—no, Seo Jun-Ho’s ‘ice bomb’—exploded in his hand.
Even a Ranker—no, even one of the Nine Heavens would have been startled by the surprise attack. Of course, Arma couldn’t dodge it. Even as he let out a painful groan, he began taking in his current situation.
‘My entire upper body is frozen all the way down my right arm.’
That was all he could analyze. Arma quickly looked around the alleyway. He wasn’t so stupid as to let his guard down because there was already an attack.
‘They’ll want to land a finishing blow since their ambush succeeded.’
He didn’t linger much on how his opponent knew the Watchdogs’ sign. Either his subordinate had betrayed him, or his opponent had a special skill.
‘What’s important is that the enemy is nearby.’
All he needed to focus on was that soon, he would have to fight for his life.
Arma’s eyes started to turn red, and a wicked energy started to swell around him. The demonic energy was miles stronger when compared to the skinny man and the delinquent girl.
‘They’re not nearby. Are they watching from a distance?’
He let out a sigh of relief. Fortunately, his opponent was cautious. It saved his life.
‘Even I would have died if I was attacked immediately after an ambush…’
But it was a different story if he was given more time.
“Arise,” he ordered. Arma bit his lower lip. He had already used six of his best black skeletons to keep the monster Gong Ju-Ha busy.
‘I don’t want to waste any more fighting power if I can help it…’
But he had no other choice. He originally wanted to go up to the 2nd floor in perfect condition, but this was better than dying.
Arma swung his left hand, and his summons quickly rose, the air around them packed with demonic energy. Even a mage from the Magic Tower in the Frontier would be impressed by his casting.
“Not bad.” Seo Jun-Ho also express his approval as he watched from the side.
“…?!” Arma’s eyes widened until they couldn’t get any wider. A moment ago, he didn’t sense a single trace of magic or presence.
“But how…when…?” How long had the man been standing behind him? A chill went through his blood, and goosebumps crawled down his back.
The right side of his body was paralyzed, while his left hand was casting a summon for his skeletons. In other words, he was completely defenseless.
“I just like to be sure.” The Skeleton Mage was twice as strong as him and even had a sobriquet. Seo Jun-Ho stabbed him from behind.
“Gah!” Blood spilled from Arma’s mouth.
Magicians were weakest when they were casting. Seo Jun-Ho had been waiting for this opportunity from the beginning.
“Kuh…urk.” Arma’s head slowly drooped.
He could see the tip of the sword that had pierced through his chest.
It was an injury that one couldn’t survive from unless they had an elixir or a medic. Unfortunately for Arma, he had neither.
He was sorrowful. He was supposed to go up to the 2nd floor to meet his master and learn about his vision properly so they could take over the world. He hadn’t even stepped on the black ground of the 2nd floor yet.
‘So this is how it ends…’
A sorrowful tear slid down his face.
“Your…..name…..?” He wanted to know the name of the one who had killed him, at the least.
Just who was it? Just who had completely toppled his plans and destroyed the Watchdogs?
Seo Jun-Ho answered his question with a question. “Have you ever carried out the final wishes of those you killed?”
“…” Arma thought for a second and sneered at himself.
“…Do you think I have?”
“So then why are you asking so cockily? I won’t tell you, you bastard.”
Seo Jun-Ho roughly drew back his sword.
Blood burst like a fountain, drenching the wall of the alleyway.
The Skeleton Mage was an international terrorist who had massacred tens of thousands of citizens in Turkey to create his skeleton army. He had inspired fear in those around him, but today, he died in a cold alleyway.
“Phew.” Seo Jun-Ho let out a deep sigh. He was relieved that it had ended safely, but he also felt dirty. “It’s not even my first time killing fiends…”
But no matter how many times he saw the messages that popped up after killing them, he never got used to it.
[You have leveled up.]
[You have leveled up.]
[All stats increased by 2.]
Defeating the three Watchdogs had raised his level by two. His level didn’t increase when he killed the other two but defeating Arma did.
‘Arma’s level was higher….His skill ranks were also probably higher.’
Seo Jun-Ho dismissed his thoughts and looked down at Arma with a cold gaze. “I hope you know something good.” As his hand pressed into the back of the Skeleton Mage’s head, new memories started to appear before him.
—A summoning skill? Those are rare. The higher-ups will be pleased.
—Hoo, it’s been a while since we’ve seen a 1st-grade item.
—You should be honored. Nazad Hallow-nim liked your skills.
—From now on, you will be the leader of the Watchdogs….
—The ultimate goal for the Fiend Association is to dominate the tower. You’ll understand the details when you come to the 2nd floor…
“Oh, it’s doing it again.” Seo Jun-Ho’s face fell.
[The skill rank is too low. You could not recall the memory completely.]
[The skill has been automatically deactivated for the safety of the user.]
The important memories were all locked away. All he could see were fragments. Still, it was a good harvest overall. By now, no countries’ governments or Players Associations knew anything about the fiends more than him.
“Geez, they really are scum.” The most shocking thing Seo Jun-Ho had found in Arma’s memories was the orphanage.
‘They use orphans and train them into fiends…’
The Fiend Association was running an orphanage for that very sake. It went without saying that those who couldn’t follow the harsh training were tossed aside. The children there weren’t even considered humans. They were referred to and treated as items until they became fiends.
‘Arma was an orphan.’
Seo Jun-Ho closed his eyes. He knew that the Fiend Association was scum, but what he previously knew had merely been a drop in a bucket.
‘I can’t just do nothing after knowing that.’
He planned to talk to Deok-Gu before he took care of it.
“And…” Seo Jun-Ho took the ring off the Skeleton Mage’s finger. It was a crude, common, silver ring. But as Seo Jun-Ho looked at it, he seemed amused. “How interesting.” It was from a dungeon in the Frontier Area, the 2nd floor. “Nazad Hallow really seems to value his fiend disciples.”
The ring’s grade was Unique.