It had been more than 10 minutes but Kim Dokja hadn’t made up his decision yet. As he shifted his eyes to Uriel , the Fallen Angel who was holding the scythe against the neck of a High Elf wearing a black cloak with ‘Nightmare’ symbol on the cap and ‘tongue’ symbol on his chest, and Lee Hyunsung , the Ancient Human guarding on his side.
“So, have you decided yet, Necromancer?” Gustatus, the High Elf and also one of the five leaders of the Corpus, raised his head up looking at Kim Dokja and asked. As he was tempted to say something else, the blade of the scythe pressed down on his throat and a threat of blood appeared on his pale neck.
Uriel , the owner of the scythe threatened Gustatus, “Don’t act like you are the Boss here, moron.” She despited his talking manner toward them, as if he was the upper person who gave out his offer as charity to them when they hadn’t known who would be the stronger if they actually got into a real battle. Uriel swore that if Kim Dokja hadn’t stopped her, she had already cut off his throat ages ago.
As expected, Kim Dokja also prevented her from doing so this time as he worriedly stepped up and pulled her wrist. “Please be patient noona, I don’t think he lied to us at all.”
Gustatus also spoke up for himself, “True, I, a High Elf, won't lie about the Lord's desire.” The High Elf race was a noble race that wouldn’t even lie about some trivial thing, let alone it was the word from the ‘Lord’, who seemed to be someone that they had the utmost respect for.
Uriel still squinted her eyes glaring at Gustatus although she had loosened the grip of the blade on his neck. Then she turned over to Kim Dokja who was having a deep line in between his eyebrows. He was surely uncertain about whether they should trust the word of Gustatus or not because it was still very suspicious. Who on Earth would forwardly raise the white flag immediately after seeing the opponents, especially with the prideful High Elf race who would never surrender if their race was not on the verge of extinction.
As Uriel kept her eyes on Gustatus, she recalled the scene when they just arrived at this very same spot.
When Kim Dokja led the squadron to the small abandoned town, they had already seen Gustatus and his High Elf troop waiting for their arrival. Because they didn’t know what he was up to and also they had been in a heightened state of ready to fight, they immediately encircled them as Kim Dokja, Lee Hyunsung and her at the front confronting Gustatus, who seemed to be the leader at the time.
As soon as they had surrounded them, Lee Hyunsung immediately activated [Aegis] that helped increase his defense stat while covering for Kim Dokja who was with [Dominating Touch] rushing toward Gustatus. When Uriel was about to use her skill [Purifying Shockwave] to backup while allowing Kim Dokja to withdraw behind Lee Hyunsung because his strength wasn’t for combat battle. However, Uriel was forced to cancel the skill because Gustatus, the leader was kinda defeated, she guessed, because he didn’t defend himself and was easily pinned down on the ground by just [Dominating Touch].
“Heh.” Kim Dokja also seemed surprised as he yelped because he didn’t think his [Dominating Touch] would be this strong to win over a leader of Corpus.
However, Uriel sensed something weird, just from his pose lying on the ground. Normally, if someone didn’t react in time and was pushed to the ground, their faces would be on ground, rather than up toward the sky like Gustatus. As if he saw through Kim Dokja ’s attack and decided to turn his back at him, so that when he was pushed down, his face wouldn’t be dirty by the sand.
Lee Hyunsung also felt the same thing as he helped Kim Dokja stand up and pulled him behind his back. While Uriel didn’t hesitate and put her scythe over his neck.
“What are you planning to do, you Nightmare bastard.” Uriel bluntly asked, pointing her finger at his face.
As if Gustatus was offended by her rude word, he slightly furrowed his brows as he stood up, not afraid that the blade would cut through his neck.
This man got some gut . Uriel thought as Gustatus faced them directly.
“Don’t move recklessly, or I will actually cut off your head.” Uriel sneered at him just in case he did do something unexpected.
Despite the quite arrogant look on his face which was typical for any High Elf, Gustatus seemed completely normal, not a single ill will could be found from his appearance. As another High Elf angrily stepped up as she wanted to tell Uriel to take off the weapon from her leader’s neck, Gustatus slightly shook his head and told the High Elf warrior to come back to her place.
“Don’t bother me. I need to deliver the Lord’s message.”
Gustatus seemed to have a very high status as well as a strong influence on those High Elves, she immediately bowed her head toward him for an apology and came back to the line standing up straight.
Then, Gustatus turned over to them as a faint smile appeared on his face, “Should we have a talk?”
“Is that the message from your Lord?” Lee Hyunsung asked. He thought that the Lord must be one of the higher people in ‘Nightmare’, the Animus or if they were lucky enough, the Spiritus.
Gustatus nodded his head to confirm as he continued, “Yes, it is. But I won’t tell you anything unless you made a promise.”
“What promised?” Uriel jumped into the conversation.
“To support the Lord.” Gustatus firmed up his face as he looked over Kim Dokja who he guessed to be the commander of the squadron.
As expected, both Lee Hyunsung and Uriel fixed their gaze at Kim Dokja waiting for his decision. Because they hadn’t known who was the Lord yet, if they chose to support the so-called Lord, they might have to go against their own companions which none of them wanted.
Kim Dokja had thought like them for the whole 10 minutes but as it didn’t work out at all, he decided to see it from a bit different viewpoint compared to his bigger brother and sister. He didn’t take the word ‘support’ that seriously. Depending on each person, it could stand for many different meanings and he could simply excuse as he would support them mentally or morally. Additionally, if the Lord was actually on their side, supporting he or she wouldn’t be a loss.
With the positive mind, Kim Dokja agreed to listen to the message first, whereas with the support part, they could deal with it later. “Sure, I promised,”
“Finally, you took a bit long, didn’t you, Necromancer.” Gustatus said as glimmer sparkles in his eyes and he pointed at the scythe on his neck, “Can you please take this one off?”
Because they had come to a conclusion and decided to treat Gustatus as a non-enemy, “Huh.” Uriel exhaled as she reluctantly removed the scythe.
Gustatus slightly lowered his head to show his gratitude before he stepped forward standing opposite to Kim Dokja as he extended his hand out. Lee Hyunsung frowned at his behaviour not because it was rude, but because it was rare for High Elves to lower themselves down and offer their hand first for a handshake with the Dark Attribute race, especially undead, the natural enemy of High Elves.
Kim Dokja accepted his handshake and introduced himself, “My name is Kim Dokja .”
Gustatus also did the same thing, yet he didn’t call himself with the name given by the ‘Sun God’ as if he wasn’t treasured it, “Please call me ‘Leader’.”
This small detail caused a wave of thought to emerge inside their heads as they started to believe more firmly that ‘True Edition’ was fake afterall.
Kim Dokja withdrew his hand while going right into the main problems, “So who is the Lord?”
Gustatus immediately answered as if he didn’t want to drag this matter any further as well, “The Lord is the current leader of the Dragon race who was borned with the responsibility to protect the ‘World Tree’. You might know her under the name ‘Autem’ as one of the Cardinals.”
Kim Dokja rested his hand on his fist while Lee Hyunsung kept his face straight and Uriel tried to remember the face of ‘Autem’.
“Doesn't she look more like a human?” Uriel asked as she recalled Autem’s face from her memory. She only saw it through images that ‘Secretive Plotter’ had given out during their brief explanation.
Gustatus immediately frowned at the word ‘human’ whereas noises abruptly emitted from the High Elves Troop. Uriel forgot that High Elves were the most loyal servant to any Dragon, let alone the Dragon Lord, the most powerful and honorable Dragon of all race.
She also realised that she just spitted out something not nice as Uriel instantly fixed her word, “Sorry I misspoke. I meant the Lord disguised so well that I cannot even recognize.” If those High Elves were still their enemies by now, Uriel wouldn’t even bother to do so.
This managed to calm them down a bit, as Gustatus regained his composure and replied, “Right, no one can see her true form if she doesn’t allow them to.”
“What does the Lord want us to know then?” Kim Dokja felt his eyes twitch non stop ignoring his command to stop doing it while he asked Gustatus. There must be something wrong with ‘Nightmare’ for the Dragon Lord to act as a spy herself.
When Kim Dokja mentioned the message, Gustatus’s face firmed up and his eyelids half-closed as he said, “The Lord believed that ‘Nightmare’ had fabricated the words of ‘Sun God’.”
“How does she know it is fake?” Lee Hyunsung asked because they weren’t able to confirm it either unless they personally could communicate with him.
And Gustatus told them that the Lord was one. “The Dragon Lord was the closest servant of God existing in this world, hence if he wanted to do anything, he would communicate to the Lord first.” Gustatus stopped a bit to create more pressure in between because the latter part was the most important as he also slightly raised his tone, “The God told the Lord that his word was misinterpreted and was taken advantage of by someone else.”
Their God was not wrong, the wrong one was the person who tried to exploit his saying and the only one in ‘Nightmare’ that could hear the words of the ‘Sun God’ was only the Spiritus, hence he or she must be the one who controlled everything from behind.
Kim Dokja, Uriel and Lee Hyunsung unconsciously blinked as they could clearly tell that the so-called ‘Dragon Lord’ was trying to justify their God even if the ‘True Edition’ was true or not, so that the High Elves wouldn’t lose faith in him making them easier to control.
However, as there were many more questions that Kim Dokja had in his head, he continued to give them out, “What is ‘Nightmare’ anyway? Where does it come from?”
Gustatus thought for a bit as he said, “I am not really sure where it comes from, but the first time I saw it was when I knew it was called ‘Judgement of Faith’.” Gustatus slightly bitted his lower lips as he shifted his gaze through his High Elf Troop and exposed a fact that cause cold sweat to form on their foreheads, “‘Nightmare’ came from the black stuff, every single one who went through it and faced it would have that stuff inside their bodies.”
Uriel, Lee Hyunsung and Kim Dokja were certain the black stuff or ‘Judgement of Faith’ must be the disgusting entity living within the maze that Nora and Biyu once saw. As the chill ran along their spinal cord, they felt lucky that Nora and Biyu weren't caught by ‘Judgement of Faith’, or else they would have quite a headache. But why didn’t that black entity notice them like other people who went in there was another question that they had.
As Uriel secretly casted a [Mul Zibanu] spell which was an upgraded version of [Lie Detection]. If the target was confirmed to be lying, they would receive the punishment of Libra of the Zodiac. Since the start of their conversation, Uriel had waited for the great thunder to slam down on Gustatus, but nothing had happened since then which even further supported that he was telling the truth the whole time making her trust toward him increased by a bit.
About Kim Dokja, he was reluctant to ask another question because it might be triggering but at last, it split out, “So you and all the High Elves here had ‘Nightmare’ inside your body?”.
As expected, Gustatus flinched at the remark as a hint of disgust showed on his face. He didn’t want to receive that tainted power but they were forced to receive by the ‘Judgement of Faith’. No one could escape from it.
Without the need for Gustatus to say anything, they could already confirm it from his reaction.
As Uriel moved the scythe in her hand, tempting to kill them so that they could be free from ‘Nightmare’, however, she put it down because it didn’t sound right. And Kim Dokja and Lee Hyunsung , two people who were putting their hands on each of her shoulders, also felt the same thing. There must be another way around it, even if it was difficult, they had to try it.
Gustatus knew what they were thinking as he sighed while his lips curved up into a sad smile, “Please don’t worry about it, the Lord had tried but nothing worked.” That was also the reason why Autem decided to stay back because she wanted to find a way to get rid of ‘Nightmare’, the disgusting power that was justified and coated over with justice from bearing the name ‘Salvation of Sun God’.
Despite the fact that even the Dragon Lord couldn’t do something with it, Kim Dokja still believed that they could do it because they weren’t some normal people either.
As he was thinking so hard that his brain was about to explode, Kim Dokja instantly jumped up as he recognised that Nora was calling him. He picked up the telepathy line as soon as possible. The signal seemed not good as he constantly heard some weird noise.
__ Dokja …
When Kim Dokja finally heard Nora’s voice from the other end, the call was forced to shut down.
“Weird.” Kim Dokja pouted his lips as he stared at his companions with widened eyes.
Uriel crouched down to look directly at his eyes as she gently tapped his two cheeks to calm the not-so-small-anymore boy down, she asked, “What’s happened?” Her eyes were filled with concern as outer corners of her eyes dripped down.
Lee Hyunsung also firmly supported his back as they heard Kim Dokja said, “Nora-hyung just called me, but the signal was stopped in the middle.”
This was the first time they knew that telepathic calls could be forcibly stopped, hence Nora must have gotten into some trouble already.
“Should I call him back?” Kim Dokja asked for the other two’s opinions.
Uriel and Lee Hyunsung didn’t hesitate to agree to his suggestion as if they could ignore Nora like they didn’t know him.
However, if Kim Dokja wanted to make a telepathic call himself, he had to activate probability and he only had Celeana’s probability in his possession. But at this point, he didn’t know anything about the reaction of ‘Nightmare’ toward her probability.
As soon as Kim Dokja released the probability, Gustatus and his High Elves troop instantly screamed out in pain as something black trying to come out from their throat.
“WATCH OUTT!?” Uriel reacted the fastest as she yelled out to alert their squadron while she picked up her scythe again before she looked over Kim Dokja and said, “that must be ‘Nightmare’. I will deal with them, try to call Nora.” Something in her head just clicked right in and told her that the black stuff was the disgusting ‘Nightmare’ that they wanted to eliminate.
Then, she threw a deadly glare at Gustatus who she thought to not keep his promise of not attacking them, “You fucking bitch.”
However, Lee Hyunsung who had activated [Aegis] again, slightly padded her back and pointed his finger at Gustatus vigorously shook his head to signal that they couldn’t control this thing either, “Look, I don’t think they want to break their promise.”
“Tchah.” Uriel clicked her tongue as the black aura of [Judgement of Chaos], a buff skill to double the damage on opponents that share a different belief to her, covered her entire body and her scythe also emitted a sharp and cold gaze.
Without the need to wait for long, the ‘Nightmare’ had completely come out of the High Elves’s bodies and fused together in a big sphere shape.
“Ready, it’s coming.” Uriel signaled the squadron to raise their alert and protect Kim Dokja by any means while he was communicating with Nora.
She was also the first one to rush forward. To her, fighting head-on would be more effective than waiting for the enemies to attack first because they would have a higher chance to manipulate the direction of the fight. Uriel wielded her scythe aggressively toward the ‘Nightmare’ as if she wanted to cut it in half.
However, as a loud ‘Clang’ emitted, the blade was stopped by its thick and hard diamond outer layer.
“How about this?” Because physical damage didn’t seem to work upon the sphere, Uriel changed to a magic spell combo that would inflict the most damage that she currently had in her skill set.
From her body, an illusion of a man carrying a big spear emerged. That was Lugh, the god of oaths, truth, and laws with his unstoppable fierce spear, [Spear of Lugh]. Then Uriel also added on another skill, [Gehenna Flame] as a black flame in the form of a big serpent slowly climbed and wrapped its body around the spear.
As soon as it completely merged into one with the spear, Uriel tensed up her muscles and acted as if she had a spear in her hand and threw it as hard as she could. The black flaming spear also shot up toward the ‘Nightmare’ and as it hit the sphere, the black flame quickly engulfed ‘Nightmare’ emitting some crackling noise as the outer shelf started to have some cracks on it.
However, the ‘Nightmare’ hadn’t stopped, it continued to make its way to Kim Dokja who had wetted his shirt with sweat because no matter how hard he tried he couldn’t connect to Nora which made his concern grow bigger and bigger after each failure. He felt like his lungs didn’t want to work anymore as Kim Dokja crouched down and hardly breathed while keeping releasing probability from his hands.
“Continue to attack it.” After Uriel managed to slow it down a bit, she commanded the squadron to keep shooting out spells that seemed to have the most damage on it.
While Lee Hyunsung put on [Keeper of the Great Cage] as he enclosed their area with a big cage with chaos power that temporarily prevented the ‘Nightmare’ from coming any closer.
“Take this chance.” Gustatus and some other High Elves warriors who had regained their consciousness and strength also lent a hand to help. Although their faces were still very pale, a glimpse of contentment could be seen from their eyes as they finally did not have to live with ‘Nightmare’ in the same body anymore.
Skills continuously flooded on top of ‘Nightmare’ and there had been more crack on its outer shell but the ‘Nightmare’ still didn’t stop and kept slamming to the barrier that Lee Hyunsung was trying his best to maintain.
Suddenly, it stopped moving.
Following the unexpected stop was the image of Lee Hyunsung throwing up a gulf of blood as the barrier broke apart.
The ‘Nightmare’ had given up its outer shell and used all its strengths to break through the [Keeper of the Great Gate] to fly to the location where Kim Dokja was kneeling.
“ DOKJAAA !!!” Uriel instantly shot up and screamed in desperation hoping that she would make it in time.
But when they finally realised what happened, it was too late.
‘Nightmare’ was looking at Kim Dokja squealing out some disturbing noise. Shrkkkk...
Kim Dokja was startled at its sudden appearance hence he didn’t have enough time to react. The defensive skill [Bone Wall] growing on his hand still needed one more second to activate.
And that split of a second, everything seemed to be frozen. When they thought they had fallen into the hole of despair, nothing happened at all as the ‘Nightmare’ stood still in the air with something like probability trapping it inside.
Kim Dokja blankly looked at the probability in his hand and the probability surrounding the ‘Nightmare’, it was the same. But he didn’t do it, so who?
As he asked that question inside his head, he heard a familiar voice loudly slammed into his ears. He immediately turned his head to the direction of the voice.
[[What the hell are you doing?]]
From afar, they could see ‘Secretive Plotter’ rushed forward toward them. Just from the presence of one man, the hearts that stuck in their throat could rest assured and come back to their places in the chest.
‘Secretive Plotter’ who just teleported to the abandoned small town where Kim Dokja ’s location was shown on the map nearly had a heart attack. Because as soon as he arrived at the place, he immediately spotted Kim Dokja ’s frozen face looking at something black that seemed to be the ‘Nightmare’ whereas Uriel desperately ran over to the boy’s position. However, it would be too late when she could come there, hence it was a race against time for him.
Without thinking, ‘Secretive Plotter’ acted along with his instinct as probability vigorously gleamed on his hand and wrapped around the ‘Nightmare’, stopping it in the middle of the air. This time, he had to be thankful because he could use Celeana’s probability because his wouldn't be as fast and as accurate which might increase the likelihood of Kim Dokja being injured.
As he hastily ran over Kim Dokja followed by Lee Gilyoung and Shin Yoosung who were also scared to death because of the situation.
The first thing ‘Secretive Plotter’ did when they noticed him was to scold them as hard as he could.
[[What the hell are you doing?]]
Uriel and Lee Hyunsung, who hadn’t recovered from the shock yet, didn’t even feel sad because of his scolding. They just felt extreme happiness because he appeared on time as both of them screamed out.
“Captain!!!” Lee Hyunsung suddenly felt his legs weakened and crouched down on the ground.
While Uriel put both of her hands up to her chest, where the heart located, and said, “Thank god, you finally here.”
However, ‘Secretive Plotter’ didn’t look at them nor hear what they said. The only person that was visible in his sight was only Kim Dokja .
Why doesn’t he use the probability to trap it? ‘Secretive Plotter’ asked himself as he noticed the probability that was still fluttering on Kim Dokja ’s hands which hadn’t been turned off because the younger man was still startled.
Did that Nora bastard not tell him about it and let me do it? As ‘Secretive Plotter’ thought about the meaning of the sentence ‘I will let Oldest Dream for you’ that Nora had said to him before he ended the call, his fist clenched hard and he wrote down in his note that he would have to beat Nora till death after this incident.
When ‘Secretive Plotter’ had come up to him so close that he could hear his breathing, Kim Dokja finally regained the liveliness in his iris.
[[ Dokja -yah.]] ‘Secretive Plotter’ gently caressed his pale face while he moved the ‘Nightmare’ away. That thing could wait because Kim Dokja was the one who matter the most here.
Kim Dokja slowly raised his head up looking at the older man’s face as he mumbled, “ Jonghyuk. ”
Then, when ‘Secretive Plotter’ hadn’t even had time to respond to his call, Kim Dokja out of the blue hugged the man, his two arms clung on the man’s neck as he snuggled into the man’s wide chest.
Yet, he didn’t cry.
It wasn’t because he didn’t want to, he just couldn’t. Despite his eyes had become red, not a single tear could come out. The pressure of the battle forced it to come back.
Kim Dokja hated war. He didn’t feel so good with it.
‘Secretive Plotter’ widened his eyes because it was the first time in a while that Kim Dokja actively hugged him first while he gently wrapped his arms around the young man and lightly padded his back.
As if the other also could understand his feelings, they left him alone with ‘Secretive Plotter’ while they came around to heal anyone who was injured and organised back the troops.
After a bit, when ‘Secretive Plotter’ could feel the warmth came back on Kim Dokja ’s skin, he asked, [[Are you feeling better now?]]
Kim Dokja nodded, rubbed his head against the other one’s chest.
[[Then, could you tell me what happened?]] ‘Secretive Plotter’ continued as he glanced over Gustatus and his High Elf Troop, the weird strangers in his mind.
Following his request, Kim Dokja slowly told him everything from the start to the end, including the Dragon Lord, Autem and Nora’s weird call.
‘Secretive Plotter’ gave some small ‘Mm-hmm’ along the way to show that he was listening to his word. So Nora didn’t intentionally not tell Kim Dokja about how to kill ‘Nightmare’ but he couldn’t for some reasons.
[[Okay, you did a good job after all.]] ‘Secretive Plotter’ ruffled Kim Dokja ’s hair to encourage him while he lifted him up and both of them stood up from the ground. Kim Dokja had completely recovered and was ready to go again.
[[I will show you how to destroy ‘Nightmare’.]]
Probability sparkles in their hands.
As Kim Dokja followed his instruction, the cage enclosed the ‘Nightmare’ finally disappeared with the ‘Nightmare’ inside it without a trace.
“You are so good Dokja !” Uriel clapped her hands together in excitement because they didn’t need to worry about ‘Nightmare’ anymore when they already knew how to get rid of them forever. It might take some work, but they would rather have a solution than not.
Lee Hyunsung , Lee Gilyoung and Shin Yoosung also cheered and gave him some compliments.
However, it wasn't the time to relax yet because Gustatus, who had just bowed down in front of Kim Dokja and ‘Secretive Plotter’.
“Please come to the maze with me. The Lord is waiting.”
Kim Dokja nearly forgot about this as he reluctantly looked at ‘Secretive Plotter’ and asked for his opinions, “Can we???” Because he wanted to look for Nora, the one who he didn’t know about the situation more than meeting Autem.
The older man squinted his eyes for a moment before he took out a teleportation scroll as he said, [[Get ready, we will leave very soon.]]
Gustatus’s face immediately brightened because he had fulfilled his task that the Lord had given while he quickly organised his High Elf Troop to stand within the teleportation circle area.
“Why??? Shouldn’t we find Nora-hyung first?” ‘Secretive Plotter’ felt the grasp around his wrist tightened as Kim Dokja asked.
[[Nora said he would head there. So we should go there first.]] He reminded the boy of the thing that he forgot before he activated the teleportation scroll.
As a large magic circle fell upon them and disappeared after a few minutes, they found themselves standing near a collapsed building. However, as they were in the teleportation process, they missed out on a rare phenomenon that just occurred within that short span of time.
“What?” Uriel rubbed her eyes because the area above the maze was supposedly to be a field, not an old building with mountains of blasted remains in its surrounding.
However, Gustatus, who had come to the maze too many times, quickly confirmed that they had come to the right place, “This is the maze.” He pointed at the maze.
Despite the fact that they had come to the maze which was exactly Gustatus was hoping for, the smile on his face wasn’t visible anymore. It must be due to the reason why the maze had raised to the ground and it wasn’t looking its best as well.
“Hurry up, we need to get inside now.” Gustatus immediately ran toward the building right after throwing those words at them.
Yet, it was too late as a bright white light started emitting from the building. The light was so strong that some of them had to close their eyes, while the others who still could withstand dropped their mouth on the ground because the building collapsed and within that light, a figure of a man was flying out.