SOLO LEVELING NOVEL, CHAPTER 239
I ALONE LEVEL-UP CHAPTER 239
As soon as Jin-Woo issued his command….
All those insect monsters that got torn to shreds just now stood back up as new Shadow Soldiers.
In the past, he also revived monsters that got killed during the battles and added them to his stock of soldiers, but these new additions were on a different scale altogether compared to those guys.
Quite far removed from the recent past when the System suppressed the powers of the Shadow Sovereign and resulted in the creation of Shadow Soldiers that were weaker than their living counterparts, Jin-Woo was now the bonafide King of the Dead, and the restrictions of the System no longer affected him. He could create the perfect Shadow Soldiers at will now.
These soldiers were so much stronger than when they were still alive. Black smoke rose up vigorously like flames from their bodies. It was pretty obvious that the stronger the soldiers of the Chaos World, the stronger his Soldiers extracted from their shadows would be.
And so, this would be how the unparalleled power that tried to destroy this world ended up becoming the noose that tightened around his enemies’ necks.
Jin-Woo issued his first command to these new soldiers, overflowing with fighting spirit.
‘Go rampage to your heart’s content.’
The insect-type Shadow Soldiers madly rushed towards the incoming waves of Chaos World’s forces. Jin-Woo also dashed forward, as well.
He instantly overtook the insect-type Shadow Soldier at the very front of the pack and leapt into the midst of the Orcs unfortunate enough to be marching at the forefront.
The panicking hordes of Orcs, as well as Ogres standing here and there among them, blindly swung their weapons in a hurry, but the odds of those hits landing on him were zero.
Jin-Woo evaded every attack pouring in from all sides with consummate ease before swinging his shortswords. Like being sucked into the centre of a whirlpool, the hapless Orcs were swept away in one go without any mercy.
Every time he sliced down, the black aura shooting out from his blades utterly tore through not just the Orcs, but the ground they were standing on, too.
Simply put, it was a hellish storm.
The headcount of Orcs decreased a lot faster than the screams exploding out from their mouths could be heard.
It was then. A tall shade was suddenly cast above Jin-Woo’s head. He raised his head to look.
A Giant-type monster, so humongous that tilting one’s head to look might actually injure one’s neck, was busy glaring down at him. And it was also in the middle of raising up high a pillar of stone that matched the length of its arms.
It must’ve devoured innumerable humans while getting here because the blood of its victims had dyed the vicinity of its mouth dark red.
Jin-Woo’s brows creased up. Even before the creature could smash down its stone pillar, he made his move first. In the blink of an eye, he arrived right below the Giant’s groin area and swung his reverse-gripped Kamish’s Wrath with a crap-ton of power.
The black aura dancing around on the edge of the blade cleanly severed the Giant’s thick ankle.
Suddenly losing one of its ankles, the Giant’s body tilted to one side and it cried out in alarm before its balance eventually broke. That humongous body tipped over to its back and soon, gained momentum as it crashed down to the ground.
Countless monsters located behind the Giant couldn’t evade in time and were crushed to death quite unexpectedly by that huge falling body.
Next up was the turn of the Shadow Soldiers.
As the Giant lay on its back breathing heavily in pain, the insect-type Shadow Soldiers quickly began climbing up on the creature.
The Giant struggled mightily to shake off the insects, but too bad, they reached the panicking creature’s face in no time at all. And soon, their ravenous feeding time began.
The screaming Giant’s convulsion ended pretty quickly. However, that wasn’t the end for this Giant, not by a long shot. Once more, the Shadow Sovereign issued his command.
When he did….
Next to the corpse of the Giant with its face mostly gone from the insects and their vicious bites, a Shadow with the exact same height slowly rose back up. Not just this guy, but other Shadow Soldiers began crawling out one by one from beneath this gigantic shadow, too.
These new Shadow Soldiers created out of the Orc remains were already outfitted with their own weapons. Their hostile eyes were now glaring at their former, still-alive comrades.
In no time at all, over one hundred of Chaos World’s forces had been absorbed into the Shadow Army.
When the Giant soldier made its move, the enemies flinched greatly. Ignoring them for now, it bent all the way down to the ground where the original’s body lay, unfurled the dead monster’s fingers, before yanking back the stone pillar for itself.
That was how the massive object had become the new weapon for the Giant soldier.
Clumps of soil clinging onto the stone pillar tumbled and fell to the ground.
As if not being able to swing its pillar while still alive was its greatest regret ever, the Giant soldier cocked that enormous weapon behind it and got ready to take an almighty swing.
Only then did the soldiers of the Chaos World realise just what kind of authority their enemy possessed.
These monsters used to enjoy fighting in this so-called war, but now, they all began taking retreating steps in fear. Their unchecked terror travelled through the air of the battlefield and got transmitted in full to Jin-Woo.
He roared out in the languages of the Sovereigns towards these creatures.
[What are you all scared of?]
After all, his counterattack had only just begun. It was indeed far, far too early to feel fear from only this much. A murderous, chilly glare flickered within Jin-Woo’s eyes.
In that moment…
The stone pillar powerfully swung by the Giant soldier brushed past and swept away every single enemy in its path as if they were mere small toys.
Immediately after Jin-Woo made his entrance to the battlefield.
The Dragon Emperor, having never let its guard down once, finally detected the presence of the Shadow Sovereign.
‘Towards the eastern front.’
Right at the eastern end of the gigantic army spreading out with itself as the centre – that was where the Shadow Sovereign decided to make his appearance.
Although a bit later than their leader, the Ancient-class Dragons as well as other Sovereigns also eventually detected the Shadow Sovereign’s movements.
The King of Demonic Spectres, the Sovereign of Transfiguration, addressed the Dragon Emperor respectfully.
[We should lead all of our forces and….]
However, the latter raised its hand up and abruptly cut off the words of the former.
The Emperor’s underlings formed various puzzled expressions.
The one who waited for the entrance of the Shadow Sovereign with the greatest anticipation was the Sovereign of Destruction right before their eyes. So, why did it choose not to make a move even after the much-awaited enemy had finally signalled the earnest beginning of this war?
Even at this moment, the forces of the Chaos World were rapidly morphing into the Shadow Army’s soldiers.
The anxiety felt by the Sovereign of Transfiguration, currently occupying the body of a short-statured middle-aged man, forced it to open its mouth, but before any words could be spoken, the Dragon Emperor voiced his opinion first.
[The Shadow Army…. Can you see where the Army of the Dead is?]
Even though they were separated by an incredible distance, the Emperor of Dragons didn’t miss the crucial fact that the Shadow Sovereign’s loyal soldiers were not present within his shadow.
‘But, that can’t be….?’
The Sovereign of Transfiguration hurriedly closed its eyes shut.
At the Eastern battlefront – a large illusory eyeball created using magic appeared in the air just above the location where the Shadow Sovereign had begun his warfare.
This magical eye took a sweeping look at the battlefield.
It was as the Dragon Emperor had said.
The Shadow Sovereign was freely roaming through the middle of the battlefield as the storm of blood raged on, but not one single hint of the army that should have been hidden within his shadow could be detected.
The Sovereign of Transfiguration opened its eyes and looked at the Dragon Emperor and discovered that the latter’s glare was now half-made up of rage and unanswered questions.
What was the Shadow Sovereign thinking of by stepping into the battlefield without the army to protect him?
At a casual glance, this seemed to be the most perfect opportunity to eliminate him for good. However, they simply couldn’t mobilise the entire army when it was unknown what their enemy was scheming right now. In a way, doing precisely that might be the true aim of the enemy, to begin with.
Anxiety akin to a veil of fog clogging up one’s vision grabbed hold of the Dragon Emperor and it couldn’t readily make its next move. One of the Ancient-class Dragon worriedly called out to its master.
[Oh, my Sovereign….]
The Dragon Emperor shot a glare at its servant, and all of the Ancient-class Dragons lowered their heads.
Having silenced them all with nothing but sheer intense pressure, the Sovereign of Destruction shifted its glare back towards the eastern battlefield, where Jin-Woo was going on a rampage at the moment.
The number of the Chaos World’s soldiers were decreasing at a noticeable rate. And at the same time, that b*stard’s own forces were increasing rapidly.
The decision needed to be made right now. The quicker the better.
Too bad, the Dragon Emperor couldn’t readily make a choice when the battlefield’s direction was unfolding in an unexpected direction through one man’s actions that seemed to defy all attempts to predict what his next moves would be.
The Dragon Emperor’s brows creased up.
‘Shadow Sovereign…. Just what is it that you’re aiming for?’
From a certain point onwards, Jin-Woo gave up on consciously cutting down on the vast sea of enemies. There were simply far too many of them for that.
The number of his own allies was increasing at a rapid pace, but still, the scale of the enemy forces was just so ridiculous that it almost rendered all of his actions so far inconsequential.
After he sucked in a deep breath, Jin-Woo entrusted himself not to his logical reasoning, but to his senses. When he did, reflexive movements that seemed to have transcended the limits of human anatomy began repeating as if he was a machine created solely to murder and destroy.
Just one strike from him tore through hundreds of monsters. And then,
Then, hundreds of new Shadow Soldiers joined his army. Like a gigantic tsunami wave crashing and swallowing everything up, the Shadows gradually dyed the battlefield black.
Every time Jin-Woo moved, black waves rumbled and rose up from the ground.
A thunderous cry filled with Mana exploded from Jin-Woo and it proceeded to knock down all the monsters standing in the frontline of the battlefield.
Their eardrums must’ve blown up because blood was trickling down from their ears; as the creatures gruntled out in pain and failed to orient themselves properly….
….Shadow Soldiers pounced on them without mercy.
Screams of monsters reverberating from all corners completely filled up the battlefield.
And so, just how much time went by in this manner?
Jin-Woo finally detected the approach of existences quite different from the forces of the Chaos World that he’d been fighting so far.
He raised his head to spot hundreds of Sky Dragons, as well as Dragonewts possessing humanoid appearances riding on top of them, completely blanket the sky above.
‘Is the Army of Destruction finally making its move?’
However, he still couldn’t sense the presence of the Dragon Emperor yet.
Not yet, huh?
There was no need to be disappointed, though – because, he had plenty of time on his hands, after all. Besides, if that b*stard was reluctant to make a move, then all he had to do was to give it a good enough reason.
The Dragonewt flying at the front of the pack let out a loud shriek which in turn made every single Sky Dragon change their heading and rush towards Jin-Woo’s location.
At that moment, determination filled up his eyes.
The reason for the Dragon Emperor to make a move? He’d create that through his overwhelming power that these measly underlings were incapable of dealing with.
Jin-Woo reached out with both of his hands towards the Sky Dragons descending towards him.
As if to squeeze dry the heavens itself, he strengthened his grip and dragged ‘something’ that eyes could not see. Mana in the atmosphere answered the will of the Shadow Sovereign next.
Without a single exception, hundreds of Sky Dragons buzzing towards him like a swarm of bees were caught by the invisible hands and were slammed down to the ground.
It was a spectacular sight to behold.
The earth rocked violently from the Sky Dragons seemingly endlessly crash landing to their deaths.
What a truly absurd level of power this was. Even Jin-Woo himself got stunned by this display of the Shadow Sovereign’s power that was no longer restricted by anything.
Unfortunately, he didn’t have time to stew in his surprise for long.
A Dragon that was previously hidden from his view by the swarm of Sky Dragons revealed itself. And he witnessed a cluster of energy gathering in the flying creature’s jaw.
Sure enough, the horrifying Breath of a Dragon made up purely of flames fell from the sky.
Having accurately fired the Breath attack on the target, this Dragon then increased its altitude.
The enemy’s presence couldn’t be detected. Could the human have been melted away by its Breath, then? Thinking that it had reached a safe-enough altitude, the Dragon stopped flying up and looked down at the ground to confirm the fate of the Shadow Sovereign.
The raging flames died down, and the black smoke dissipated, but…
….But, not a trace of the Shadow Sovereign could be seen anywhere.
‘Where is he…??’
It was then.
A presence could be felt on top of the Dragon’s head. A chill-inducing sensation brushed past the back of this creature’s neck, but by then, it was already too late.
– You b*stard!!
Even before the Dragon could look up, Jin-Woo standing on its head stabbed down with ‘Kamish’s Wrath’.
Sharp black aura shooting out from the tip of the shortsword penetrated clean through the Dragon’s head and exited from underneath its chin.
Rather obviously, the dead flying lizard lost its ability to stay airborne and helplessly fell towards the earth.
The ground rapidly closed in, and eventually, collided with the Dragon.
Jin-Woo lightly jumped off from the head of the unmoving, sagging Dragon and while walking towards the approaching enemies, spoke without even bothering to look behind him.
Just like that, the Dragon and hundreds of Dragonewts began rising up again right behind him.
The Dragon Emperor also felt it.
Its own army shouldn’t even be compared to the ragtag bunch calling themselves soldiers that belonged to other Sovereigns. But now, a portion of its proud army had been lost to the Shadow Sovereign.
With that, the situation was now beyond the point of wait-and-see in regards to whatever schemes the b*stard had cooked up. The event of the Army of Destruction being swallowed up by the Shadow Sovereign must be prevented at any cost.
[We shall strike him down.]
The Dragon Emperor issued a new order to the Ancient-class Dragons waiting for their chance to participate in the war.
[All of you shall accompany me.]
And just in case, it issued a different command to the Sovereign of Transfiguration.
[You shall remain here and prepare for the possible surprise attack by the Shadow Sovereign.]
[It shall be done.]
Hundreds of Gates connected to the battlefield in the east suddenly materialised in front of the Dragon Emperor and the Ancient-class Dragons.
‘I shall not let you escape.’
With that thought in its head, the Dragon Emperor and its eyes burning in the flames of rage disappeared into the Gate. Right behind it, the Ancient-class Dragons also entered their respective Gates.
Finally, the Army of Destruction, shrinking back and not doing anything until now, was forced to make their move after the Shadow Sovereign successfully managed to provoke them.
Quite unlike in the east where the violent storms of power were on a collision course, a comparatively quieter battle was coming to an end on the opposite side, on the western front.
The American military that had set up their final defensive line here was tragically being torn apart by the fangs and claws of the monsters.
What these soldiers had bet their last hopes on were the weapons used by the Hunters. Unfortunately, there was simply no way that these regular people could effectively use the Hunter-issue weapons that were originally designed for raid situations.
And so, the American military rapidly crumbled away in defeat.
The role of the marauding army’s spearhead for the western front was also given to the insect-type monsters that possessed great agility and sharp senses.
The insect monsters quickly closed in on the human soldiers.
Blam, blam, blam, blam, blam!!
These creatures completely ignored the barrage of bullets and pounced on the humans to tear them apart.
The survivors retreated and continued to fire away with their guns, but as expected, their actions were completely ineffective. However, it was even more unimaginable that they would suddenly start swinging swords around to fight these insect monsters now.
While they found themselves stuck between a rock and a hard place…
The insects, having finished their feast on the human soldiers, swivelled their heads towards the next wave of prey. It was now the turn of the survivors.
The platoon commander’s expression hardened as he took a look at his soldiers to the side. They were nodding their heads back to him.
From the moment they learned that this mission was simply a ploy to buy enough time for the civilians to evacuate, they all had prepared themselves for this moment.
The platoon commander pulled out a hand grenade. This little modern-day explosive might not be able to kill these enemies, but on the flip side, they couldn’t avoid becoming food for their enemies, either.
The platoon commander yanked out the safety pin.
The insect-type monsters sensed that the atmosphere had turned weird from the human’s action and while screeching out loudly, they madly pounced on the platoon commander.
His eyes grew wider as he watched the insects swarm towards him. It truly happened in the blink of an eye.
These insects arrived right before his nose in less than a breath. Just before their sharp mandibles split open wide to swallow him up…
….A certain figure stepped before the platoon commander faster than any of the insects could and took the hand grenade away, while blocking the attacks of the monsters with his bare back.
The commander could only look up in a total daze at the man blocking his view, who was also at least a good two heads taller than he was.
Thomas winked and spun around towards the insects before shoving the grenade into the open mouth of one of them.
Although there wouldn’t be any tangible damage suffered by the d*mn thing from the grenade, but, it still should get really surprised by a strange object suddenly entering its gut like that.
The corners of his lips arched up as a rather humorous situation played out in his head. Meanwhile, he swung his massive fist and easily blew away the head of that insect.
The dead headless insect flew away and landed far away.
“Oops…. That thing’s not gonna get surprised now, is it?”
As Thomas stood there scratching the back of his head, top-ranked Hunters urgently rushing forward from somewhere behind him began their desperate struggle against the insect-type monsters.
Painful screeches of dying insects noisily rang around. The surviving soldiers quickly recognised who these people coming to their aid were and bright expressions filled up their faces.
“I-it’s the Scavenger!!”
“They’re Hunters from the Scavenger Guild!”
“Ah, ahh!! Thank you, Lord!”
As befitting a Guild consisting of truly exceptional Hunters, the current situation was resolved in no time at all. However, they didn’t have any breathing room whatsoever as yet another wave of monsters was madly rushing towards them.
Thomas Andre’s ultra-sharp glare swept across the incoming enemies.
Orcs, Ogres, Trolls, Minotaurs, Cyclops, etc….
All of them were monsters commonly seen inside dungeons. No matter how many of them were here, they didn’t pose any challenge to him.
In the middle of this sea of weaklings, there hid a nonsensically powerful being. Just like how other monsters were scared by Thomas’s presence, he too couldn’t make a move because of that one presence.
Eventually, this creature slowly walked to the front of the horde, as if it was done observing the situation.
[You’re the human from that time, aren’t you? The weakling vessel of the Rulers, almost driven to death by the Sovereign of Beastly Fangs.]
The King of Monstrous Humanoids formed a sinister grin.
The Sovereign of Beastly Fangs did indeed possess powers of a predator, but basically, it was more specialised towards hunting down its prey, instead. However, this particular King was different from its now-dead comrade in that it ruled over Monstrous Humanoids such as Orcs and Ogres, and its speciality was in up-close-and-personal physical confrontations.
So, it was quite obvious that it’d find this human acting so flippant when he had only a pathetic little bit of strength to fall back on rather humorous to behold.
The King of Monstrous Humanoids, the Sovereign of Iron Body, began unleashing its enormous Mana reserve.
Pressuring the opponent’s fighting spirit through aura alone. This was a display of confidence from the Sovereign, implying that it could easily kill off a measly human like Thomas Andre in a heartbeat.
In stark contrast to the Hunters behind him with their rapidly-paling complexions, the vessel of the Rulers didn’t seem to lose his relaxed demeanour at all.
The Sovereign began to wonder if this human had some sort of a scheme, a trick up his sleeve, but then…
“…..So, this much should be enough, right?”
….Thomas Andre muttered to himself.
When he did, the darkness suddenly spread out from beneath his feet and in the blink of an eye, completely covered up the land.
The Sovereign’s brow quivered greatly.
This was, without a doubt, the skill belonging to the Shadow Sovereign.
The odd thing was, though, if he was here, then there was no way that the King of Monstrous Humanoids would have missed the source of that enormous power.
At that moment, a familiar voice suddenly rose up from right behind Thomas Andre.
[It’s been a long time, oh, King of Monstrous Humanoids.]
The Grand-Marshal Bellion sent his greeting in a polite yet still threatening tone of voice. And right behind him, over 130 thousand Shadow Soldiers, hiding within Thomas Andre’s shadow while patiently biding their time, were rising up above the ground at the same time.