Stop, Friendly Fire! Chapter 296
<Chapter 53. The Final Stage - 7>
The target of his so ardently desired vengeance was right before him. The 'Archmage' had been so confident in his endeavor that Jissehanu was momentarily stunned. However, he soon realized what must be done and began to act.
[Keuk, Jissehanu!? How!? What the hell happened!?]
Whereas, Jirold, who had been waiting to hear the good news, had fallen into Hell. Compared to Jissehanu, he hadn't grasped the situation right away. That allowed Jissehanu to make the first move.
[Jirold, I wanted to see you! I really wanted to see you!]
Even if it's rotten, it's still a herring, huh. Once Jirold was struck by Jissehanu's darkness, he got a hold of himself and began to counterattack. Dark lightning crackled, gathered around his hands, and shined.
Just because he possessed Lightning Bind didn't mean his combat abilities were low. He was a Vampire, a species that specialized in magic and regeneration, and had also nearly mastered his lightning element!
[I don't know how you brought me here, but Jissehanu... Bringing me before you was a huge mistake. Have you forgotten? Long ago, you weren't able to beat me. By becoming an undead, have you forgotten about my strength along with everything else!?]
[I remember, Jirold. I remember it as if it were just yesterday; how ruthless you were to me and my friends. But time has passed. So much so that it feels like we were playing house back then! ...And it seems like you've become an undead too. How hilarious!]
That's right. It didn't matter what they were thinking before, or who/what intervened. Now that they'd met, they would have no choice but to fight until one of them died!
The Magic Emperor's lightning clashed with the Undead Emperor's darkness midair. Contrary to Jirold, Jissehanu was a magician that had maxed out his darkness element and used it as his standalone element. Thus, his darkness was far greater than Jirold's lightning.
[Hmph, you've been immersed in this darkness and have become quite close with it it seems. Now I'll show you that lightning can even tear through that darkness you hold so dear!]
Jirold soon realized that if he kept using the lightning element, he'd lose, so he began using his Lightning Bind. Lee Shin Woo wasn't aware of this yet, but Lightning Bind was a perfect battle ability.
With Lightning Bind, Jirold transferred all damage dealt to him to those connected with him, and could steal their Magic, Health, Strength, and Agility to bolster his own stats. That was the true power of Lightning Bind!
The Magic Emperor hadn't fought on the frontlines thus far, so he'd never had a need to use it that way. However, Lightning Bind reinforced the darkness element's 'link' ability close to its limit!
...If he could use Lightning Bind properly, that is.
[I can tell what you're trying to do, Jirold. However... This is my palace.]
Jissehanu mocked him.
[You probably erected a barrier around your palace too. Did you think I wouldn't do the same?]
[How did you...!?]
[I was always one step behind you, but it was my barrier that allowed for the creation of this Empire. And for the past several years, I've strengthened that ability again and again! Though there was an unfortunate incident a short while ago that destroyed a part of the barrier...]
When the light blast had struck the capital, the Undead Emperor had been extremely confused. He was nervous, thinking that perhaps Seagald truly intended to uproot the entire Empire.
However, there was one good thing that came out of it. As the Undead Emperor no longer needed to maintain the barrier, he was now able to conserve some of his mana. He didn't obsess over remaking the damaged barrier, and instead focused on reinforcing the palace's barrier.
It had turned out to be a wise decision. Even if Jirold used his Lightning Bind, its effects couldn't penetrate the palace's barrier, thus stopping him from affecting or being affected by others!
[Keuk, Jissehanu, you dare... you...!]
[Jirold, shall we play? We have plenty of time anyway. No one will be able to interfere.]
The aftermath of the two Emperor's magic had already erased the palace's guards from the face of the earth. The palace was completely empty. Of course, there was no way that the Archmage, Feotane Von Seldin would be affected...
'Feotane may be skilled, but he cannot intervene in my battle with Jirold. Moreover, linking the space between the two palaces must've taken a heavy toll on him. ...I'm so thankful to him. I hope he got away safely.'
Then, he heard a commotion from afar, outside of the palace. The Archmage probably knew he would be of no help and had decided to command the troops in his Emperor's stead. Since Jirold wasn't the only enemy they had to face right now.
No, this was where things would truly begin. The battle between the undead and the dirty humans on the surface would begin in earnest. The Archmage should be able to lead their troops to victory on behalf of the Underground Empire!
[While our troops fight, let us also fight to our heart's content, Brother! It reminds me of so long ago!]
[You disgusting... Fine, I'll take you on. Let's see who's superior!]
The two Emperors clashed once more. As they were both level 9s, the ambient mana vibrated mercilessly. But due to Jissehanu's barrier (within the hall), the ruckus didn't escape the palace's walls. They were dueling for supremacy!
...Because of that, Lee Shin Woo was able to move a bit more freely.
"I can't believe you're so calm, even after seeing that."
"I have to be calm. They're both freakishly strong; whenever they attack each other, their bones creak, and they hurt each other. How can I not be calm? At the very least, neither one of them will win one-sidedly, so I won't have to take over."
'Man, the Magic Emperor, Jirold, fights a lot better than I expected', Lee Shin Woo muttered under his breath and Jin just stood there, dumbstruck.
"I was worried that both Jirold and Jissehanu were both hikikomoris, but it seems like they're a good match. Maybe it's because they're both hikikomoris. Wow, look at that mana splitting in the air. If I grow just a little more, then I could create stuff with just a speck of mana."
"I don't even get what I'm looking at... Just looking at it makes me shake."
The extremely compressed magic clashed repeatedly within the air, but it actually wasn't very flashy. Whenever their magic clashed, they would cancel each other out, and the barrier prevented any impact.
It's just... Despite that, Lee Shin Woo couldn't make light of their battle. Anyone who could wield mana should be able to feel it. How powerful Jissehanu's sphere of darkness, as well as Jirold's black Lightning Bind were.
"Wow, this is really informative. As expected, they didn't waste their time over the years. Then again, there was a lot to learn about the Archmage's magic too... Damn, I'm on the cusp of mastering Mana Acceleration and Mana Bone."
"So you're just going to sit here and keep watching that lecture on mana?"
"If I could, I would, but... Tch, I guess I can't."
Lee Shin Woo wanted to watch the view while eating some popcorn, but unfortunately, he didn't have that much free time right now.
For the time being, Lee Shin Woo had used the Annihilation Flame to erase their presences, so no one noticed them. Normally, maintaining Annihilation Flame wasn't very difficult for him. Because his Annihilation Flame had reached intermediate level 2, he was able to pull off this imitation.
"I know where it is and I pretty much know how to open it now, so let's go. Man, it's really tough to move around with both Wild Card and Annihilation Flame on."
"I'm more surprised that we can move around right under their noses..."
Lee Shin Woo had summoned Jirold to fight against Jissehanu and buy him time. He'd already done that, so what else was left? Obviously, he needed to destroy the source of darkness; also known as Jissehanu's life vessel!
If Jirold managed to kill Jissehanu, then Jissehanu would resurrect at his life vessel. Not only did he have to finish things before then, but if Jissehanu managed to kill Jirold, then he'd noticed an abnormality with his life vessel and come to stop him. Either way, he needed to destroy the life vessel ASAP.
In other words, timing was paramount. It really befit a hero's last mission.
"Damn it, if I didn't have this overpowered ability and had an overpowered stealth ability instead, I'd be able to take care of this easily...!"
"How overpowered would it have to be for you to be able to resolve this situation so easily?"
"Not sure. About the level of being right in front of God, but her not noticing me...?"
"Isn't that the level of a god...?"
He claimed they didn't have any spare time, yet they moved towards the location of the magic circle while hypocritically joking around with each other.
It seemed as though Jissehanu felt that his own life was important, as he fought centered around his throne. However, Jirold was no pushover, so he was continuously forced away from the throne area.
With Lee Shin Woo's Wild Card (which allowed him to completely understand the situation), and Jin's Agility, which allowed his movements to border on foresight, they avoided everything and arrived in front of the magic circle.
"Oh, wait. Where did Chi Paul go? Didn't you bring him along to use as a meat shield if things got dangerous?"
"Are you crazy? I'd rather die once than use something that precious as a meat shield."
"Then why did you bring him...?"
"I gave Chi Paul a really important job. Yep, it's really important."
"...? Are you using Fire Shadow right now? Why are you using it now?"
A portion of Lee Shin Woo's hand was tinged in darkness and burned quietly. Seeing that, Jin tilted her head. Lee Shin Woo just smiled bitterly and said.
"I'm doing that."
"You mean that thing where you transfer your powers to someone else? ...Does it really matter if you transfer your combat abilities to him?"
"It matters, because I'm not transferring my combat abilities."
Jin tilted her head, but then... A man, who looked exactly like the Emperor, yelled in a booming voice from outside the palace.
[The time has come. My loyal subjects. Stand up... It's time for us to take revenge on those who imprisoned us within darkness!]
[Obey His Majesty! His Majesty is leading us personally!]
[It's a holy war! To war!]
The elite soldiers and knights seemingly became intoxicated from each and every one of his words. No one doubted the 'Emperor's' appearance or words. A black flame briefly erupted from his shadow, but no one had seen it.
All of the Imperial Army's elite troops marched from the capital. Lloyd and the hero squad encountered them, and they all rushed towards the exit set up within the level 5 danger zone (this was the hardest one to dig up. It was like building a tower and breaking through the ceiling).
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