Leveling with the Gods - Chapter 59
It felt as if the sound came first, but no actual sound was heard. It was an instinctive feeling. A spine-chilling, destructive fighting spirit.
A bright light filled YuWon’s eyes.
[Heavenly Destructive Lightning]
Everything where YuWon was standing was completely eradicated.
The imaginary sound from earlier could actually be heard this time.
YuWon looked at the spot where he had been standing just a second ago.
With a flash of blue lightning and the force from the punch, an area dozens of meters wide had become a dug out pit.
‘It would have been bad if I got caught up in that.’
A terrifyingly destructive technique. YuWon couldn’t believe this was the first technique.
“So you dodged it.”
Lightning mana was encircling the Fist Lord’s fist. In the martial realm, they called it ki.
“Good judgment. If you’d tried to block it instead of dodging it, you’d have been dead meat,” said the Fist Lord.
YuWon believed him. In fact, YuWon would have been lucky if there was even a piece of his flesh left. Most players would have been burnt to ashes with no recognizable remains of them left over.
‘To be able to display this much power on the 10th Floor, this is crazy,’ thought YuWon.
This might have been a test, but for the penalty to be decreased to this extent on the 10th Floor, YuWon couldn’t help but think that the test’s difficulty made no sense.
YuWon had managed to survive five bouts against Chryses, a Ranker just like the Fist Lord. However, the penalty and the restriction of power was much stronger for Chryses, not to mention the fact that he was injured from his fight against Hephaestus.
This situation was different. The Fist Lord was many times stronger in comparison to the worn-out Chryses. And thanks to this being a test, his penalty and restrictions were weaker.
“If you can, I’d like to see you try dodging it again,” said the Fist Lord.
Earlier, he had swung his left fist. This time he swung his right fist, but very slowly.
The speed at which the Fist Lord was extending his arm was almost enough to make YuWon yawn. However…
‘It’s accelerating,’ YuWon noticed.
The slow-moving fist almost seemed like a lie as it started moving so fast that one almost couldn’t see it anymore.
[Hundred-Step Lightning Fist]
The earth shook. The area that this second punch destroyed was even larger than his first. It was as if thunder and lightning rained down from the skies.
After having used his second technique, BaekLim squinted his eyes.
Once again, YuWon had moved ahead of time and escaped the range of his attack. This time it was much closer, but this was clearly something that wasn’t possible just by being quick-footed.
‘He moved before I even extended my fist,’ the Fist Lord thought.
It felt as if YuWon was anticipating his movements.
That was when…
YuWon’s eyes changed to red.
And it was no normal shade of red. Seeing how they changed suddenly, the Fist Lord could tell that this wasn’t a normal phenomenon.
‘It must be because of a skill,’ he thought.
A skill that could read his attacks. He guessed that it must have been at least an A-rank skill because how else could he have avoided two of his punches?
“No wonder he was so confident,” the Fist Lord remarked.
With such eyes and the ability to move that fast, it shouldn’t be hard to dodge three attacks, no matter how destructive the attack might be. BaekLim finally understood why YuWon had wanted to start the test right away.
He scoffed. “How absurd.”
Above Mt. Heaven, dark stormy clouds started to form. The peak of Mt. Heaven was above the clouds, so this was no natural phenomenon.
From Pung BaekLim’s hand, blue lightning was gathering, and his surroundings were starting to spark.
“At the top of this Tower is a world you have no clue about,” BaekLim spoke.
MuGuek, who was watching over the fight, clicked his tongue. He could tell that the aftershocks of the attack were going to go beyond the training grounds.
“I’ll have to do something about that,” MuGuek said.
“Let me,” the Spear Lord said while getting up from his seat. He started preparing so BaekLim’s attack wouldn’t have an effect outside the arena.
YuWon could also tell this third technique was going to be completely different than the previous ones.
‘I won’t be able to dodge this,’ he thought.
He guessed that the power of this attack would be less than the previous two because even BaekLim shouldn’t be able to output enough power to completely annihilate this entire area. They might have been in the middle of a test, but as someone who wasn’t even a High Ranker, the Fist Lord shouldn’t have permission to use that much power.
‘So in exchange for having a wider range, the attack should be that much weaker…’
YuWon planted his two feet firmly into the ground.
The power of the 「Dark Divine Crystal」 traveled from his hand into his sword.
On top of that…
[Your arms have been imbued with the power of a Giant.]
[Partial Gigantification will occur.]
Both his arms became strengthened by [Gigantification.]
YuWon clenched his sword with both hands. He enchanted the sword with the energy of the 「Dark Divine Crystal,」 making the already black sword an even deeper shade of black.
Seeing YuWon’s actions brought a smile to BaekLim’s face. “So you plan on blocking it,” he said.
YuWon’s instincts told him that this attack would be unavoidable.
BaekLim had assumed that with eyes like that, he would have focused on dodging, so this was an unexpected call by YuWon. BaekLim thought that it would have been the right decision… if he hadn’t been facing him. The attack he was about to use could neither be dodged nor blocked.
[Lightning Storm of Genesis]
The dark clouds parted and…
Lightning and thunder rained down upon the arena where YuWon and the Fist Lord stood.
Dense smoke filled the arena, mixed with kicked-up dirt and rubble.
The electricity that didn’t dissipate traveled along the smoke.
The audience was speechless at the sight of the monstrous destructive force.
“So this is… a Ranker…”
“I can’t believe it…”
“And this is with him still being somewhat restricted by the penalty.”
“What is his true power even like then?”
“I… I almost… d-died…”
The people closest to the fight took a step back after seeing the scorched earth right in front of them.
Had the Spear Lord not blocked the attack, they would have ended up getting caught in the Fist Lord’s lightning strikes.
“What’re the results?”
The dense smoke finally parted.
The first person to be visible was BaekLim. His smile and the expression of interest on his face was no longer there. In fact, it was plainly visible to everyone that he was in shock.
“…He blocked it,” said BaekLim.
He’d had a feeling that YuWon did, but it was now confirmed as YuWon was unveiled amidst the parting smoke.
[You blocked 3 techniques from ‘The Fist Lord – Pung BaekLim.’]
[You have passed the 2nd test of the Heavenly Demonic Cult.]
A message popped up.
YuWon rubbed the back of one of his hands. Because he blocked the attack head-on, the electricity that he wasn’t able to stop or brush off ended up partially paralyzing him.
But that was it. YuWon had managed to block three techniques from the Fist Lord without any major injuries, even though the Fist Lord had given it his all.
‘So this is the power of combining martial arts and skills,’ YuWon thought.
YuWon had only ever properly seen it a few times before.
The techniques that BaekLim displayed were no ordinary techniques. He was a martial artist who was born inside the Heavenly Demonic Cult, but like YuWon, he was a player and a Ranker that climbed the Tower. Naturally, he’d have dozens, if not hundreds of skills that he’d learned from the time that he’d spent climbing the Tower and mastering mana. And the three techniques that he’d used were the result of harmonizing the skills he’d mastered.
“I thought that you might be able to block it,” BaekLim said while walking towards YuWon. He no longer saw meaning in using large techniques from a distance. “But I didn’t expect you to come out this unscathed.”
The way BaekLim looked at YuWon changed. And the air around him started to change as well…
Though it was faint, it was a sign of the penalty enacting itself. It meant that BaekLim was preparing to use his maximum power.
“Do you want to continue?” BaekLim asked.
YuWon had cleared the test. If YuWon refused, BaekLim had no right to forcefully continue it, and he’d then face the full effect of the penalty every time he attacked YuWon, not to mention that he’d be going against the Heavenly Demon’s will.
[Would you like to continue this test?]
YuWon was very much willing to agree with the Fist Lord’s wishes.
“Of course,” YuWon said.
YuWon had yet to put away his sword.
BaekLim smiled wide. He looked at YuWon, his eyes filled with fighting spirit.
“If that’s the case…”
BaekLim smashed his two fists together, scaring the audience with the resulting thunderous sound.
“Let’s keep playing.”
YuWon thought maybe this would be how Hargaan would be like when he eventually became a Ranker. The electricity that flowed from his fists felt like it would burn him just from being too close.
BaekLim no longer intended on judging YuWon while being restrained by the restrictions of the test. He intended to exchange hits with YuWon, not caring about the number of techniques used.
“Now, why don’t you attack fir—” BaekLim trailed off. As he was about to let YuWon have the first move, his face that had been full of excitement soured.
The electricity flowing around him started to waver.
BaekLim could see a faint heat shimmering right before YuWon’s eyes. It was some sort of physical manifestation of internal energy, no, mana.
Though it was half-baked, BaekLim could tell what it was right away. No, he could feel what it was.
“You…” BaekLim said, pointing towards YuWon, his hand wavering ever so slightly. “How are you able to use the Heavenly Demon’s Spirit…?”
“It’s a bit lacking to call it the Heavenly Demon’s Spirit just yet,” YuWon boldly responded. “This is still nothing more than the shape of its base form.”
“Shaped, also known as materialized mana. It’s a thing that has a will of its own,” YuWon said, looking at the heat shimmers that were forming around him. “This is merely a shell of the Heavenly Demon’s Spirit, and an incomplete one at that.”
The heat shimmers moved in a way that seemed like they were protecting YuWon, as if they actually had a will of their own.
Seeing this, BaekLim instinctively recoiled.
The electricity weakening around BaekLim was a sign of him wavering.
The BaekLim that looked like he was ready to punch YuWon at any moment suddenly seemed to have lost his morale.
‘Luckily, it appears to be effective,’ thought YuWon.
Pung BaekLim, the Fist Lord of the Heavenly Demonic Cult. He and the rest of the Four Lords were people that were born and raised inside the Cult where they had also learned martial arts. With exceptional talent for martial arts, they were among the few players that became stronger not by leveling up, but by training their martial arts. And that is how they had become Rankers, by mastering the martial arts of the Heavenly Demonic Cult.
‘The Heavenly Demon’s Spirit is the root and foundation of the Heavenly Demonic Cult. It’s the materialization of the martial arts mastered by the Heavenly Demon, Cheon MuJin,’ YuWon thought.
YuWon took a step towards Pung BaekLim.
YuWon could feel BaekLim’s instinctive repulsion against the [Heavenly Demon’s Spirit,] even if it was incomplete. He could feel BaekLim’s energy wavering.
‘If this was the real Heavenly Demon’s Spirit, I would be able to make him obey me with just a single sentence,’ thought YuWon.
The Heavenly Demon had absolute power and authority inside the Heavenly Demonic Cult, and the reason why he was worshipped as a god lied here—the martial artists of the Heavenly Demonic Cult could not defy the Heavenly Demon no matter what.
‘I can only hold the Heavenly Demon’s Spirit for three, four minutes at best.’
YuWon walked closer to BaekLim while extracting as much power out of the 「Dark Divine Crystal」 as possible.
‘Since I don’t have too much time…’
“As you asked, I’ll make the first move.”