Whoosh! The Martial King felt the increased power flowing out of him. “It’s definitely different.”
He had already been satisfied with his achievements and had not put much thought into exuviation and transcendence. He did not lack power and could achieve exuviation and transcendence whenever he wanted. Moreover, if the Martial King did exuviate or transcend, he would attract Allforone’s attention. Without any way to counter Allforone, he would be at a disadvantage, and as a result, the Martial King thought about putting off exuviation and transcendence until after he completed the Bright Tai Chi Pangu Sword. That was the extent of the Martial King’s thoughts on the matter. However, as he rushed towards transcendence, the Martial King seemed to understand why so many beings wanted to reach this rarified state. At the same time, the Martial King also understood why the idiots in the heavenly realm regretted the transcendence that they achieved.
Transcendence could only be achieved once. Something that had broken out of its shell could not break out a second time. One was better off transcending only when one’s spirit was complete. However, many of the higher beings who achieved transcendence were impatient to gain power, so they often rushed the process. The Martial King was the exact opposite of those transcendents.
Although he had delayed his exuviation and transcendence due to Allforone, the Martial King had already reached the limit of his spirit’s growth. His achievements had continued growing, allowing the Martial King to accumulate an amount that put most transcendent beings to shame. Since he released all of it for his exuviation and transcendence, it was easy to imagine how massively explosive his transformation was. As power roiled inside him, the Martial King slowly walked forward.
Thud. Thud. The earth shook at each step. The Martial King was confident that he could shake up the entire Tower. It was a force that the Martial King had never felt before. However… ‘If I make a misstep with this level of power, I might go straight to heaven.’
The Martial King frowned as he clucked his tongue. There was a joke among the One-horned tribe called “ascending as a feather”. It was based on a story about a feather that ascended to heaven due to its lightness and often applied to elders in the tribe who reached the heights of their powers only to quietly close their eyes and perish in the next moment.
The Martial King had found himself in that exact situation. Even the slightest error in controlling his rising power would make him instantly implode. The speed of his power leveling was that fast. Although he was trying to slow down his transcendence as much as possible, the Martial King did not find it easy. ‘I only have…’ The Martial King quickly calculated how long he could hold out. ‘About five minutes?’
It was less time than he expected, and the Martial King could taste the bitterness in his mouth. ‘I’ll have to kill everyone in here within that time frame.’ Although he was disappointed that he didn’t have much time left, the Martial King’s eyes shone as fiercely as ever as he stared at the beings trapped within his Illusory Barrier. He had more than enough time to achieve what he wanted to do.
Nocturne was not alone in the Illusory Barrier. The gods of Asgard were still there, and the Martial King thought that it was an opportune time to show off his tremendous powers to Yeon-woo and get rid of those who had put him through so much trouble recently.
『Damn it! Why is this thing not opening? Open! Open, damn it!』
『I’ve lost all connection to the heavenly world! I can’t even sense it!』
『Ah! Such a dumb situation! Why are we going through so much embarrassment in the lower world!』
The gods of Asgard could not return to the heavenly world, and they lost their composure as they looked for a way out of the Illusory Barrier. They could feel the aura of a being that was comparable to a supreme or conceptual god, which made them run around like headless chickens. They grew envious of Thor, who had already returned to the heavenly world.
『H-huh? Shit, he’s coming!』 When he saw the Martial King moving their way, a god of Asgard screamed.
All eyes turned in the same direction.
“You guys acted so tough and strong in front of me just a moment ago, right? Let me return the favor.”
Bang! The Martial King lightly punched into the air with a smooth movement. The results were destructive, and space itself collapsed from the punch, forming cracks that spread out quickly to the area where the gods were gathered. Boom! Boom! Boom! The Martial King did not just collapse space. He collapsed everything within that space. The atmosphere, the particles, the laws, the existences…everything collapsed. If ordinary gods were parts of an Idea, an emperor-level being could freely utilize those parts or break them.
『Th-this doesn’t make sense!』
Half of Asgard’s gods were swept away in one shot. It was initially unclear whether the gods were thrown back into the heavenly world or their existences had been permanently destroyed. The gods who remained only knew one thing for sure: they would only face a dog’s death if they confronted the Martial King.
“Where are you running off to?” Boom! Boom! Boom! The Martial King used a knife-hand strike at the escaping gods. Those caught in the Martial King’s attack suffered humiliating deaths filled with screaming mixed with the sound of their bodies being torn apart. Then, their bodies exploded.
Some gods tried to counterattack, but none of them could harm the Martial King. None of them could contend with the Martial King even before exuviation, and now that they were trapped in the great holy territory that the Martial King had created, they were essentially fish in a barrel. In the end, as the gods exploded one after the other…
『Even if we die like this, we can come back to life. But for you…ugh!』 The last god, Heimdall, cursed at the Martial King, breathing heavily and covered in blood. The gods’ true body was still in the heavenly world, which meant they would survive, even if they had to suffer a penalty. However, Martial King would be completely consumed by Gaia’s Curse.
However, Heimdall couldn’t finish speaking since the Martial King’s hand suddenly grasped his throat. Heimdall struggled in the Martial King’s grasp, choking both from the tight grip and the Martial King’s aura and power Heimdall turned pale and his spirit trembled.
Heimdall was Asgard’s strongest god after Thor and the sleeping Odin, but the unfathomable difference in power between himself and the Martial King still overwhelmed him. Heimdall looked at the Martial King with a face engulfed in fear. The Martial King’s eyes gleamed coldly through his unruly hair.
“Don’t get me wrong.” The Martial King’s voice was so cold that Heimdall wondered if his own spirit had frozen solid. “I didn’t attack you guys at the start because I was leaving that task for another person. My disciple will be visiting you guys soon, so just wait.”
Crack! The Martial King crushed Heimdall’s neck before the god could reply. Sss. The connection between Heimdall and his incarnation had been completely severed.
Asgard’s massive mobilization was over. Now, they would have to be on high alert and prepare for a wrathful Yeon-woo, who might appear in the heavenly world at any time. Because of the penalty they had incurred, they all suffered considerable damage to their powers, putting them at a disadvantage. Their days would be filled with anxiety and fear. This was the punishment that the Martial King gave to them.
“Brother…” Heimdall had used the Spear God Flanc’s body as his incarnation, and as a brilliant light burst from the Martial King, Flanc closed his eyes appreciatively. He had looked up to the Martial King from when he was a child, and he was happy that the last thing he would see was the Martial King. Perhaps this was what he’d wanted to see all along.
The Martial King released Flanc, and like the other vessels, he disintegrated before he even touched the ground. But there was no time for the Martial King to rest. He didn’t have much time left, and Nocturne, who had been watching the massacre from a distance, was now moving forward.
Bam! Nocturne jumped out of the space he opened in front of the Martial King. His hand shot towards the Martial King, tearing space vertically. A beam of light soon followed. It was a power that could cut an existence, spirit and all, in half. The energy of the strike was based on the Tower’s termination code.
The Martial King controlled his consciousness and used his strength to retreat. Nocturne was learning how to use the Tower’s system code, and he was a difficult opponent for the Martial King despite the difference in their power levels.
As he muttered to himself that this was the reason he needed the Bright Tai Chi Pangu Sword, the Martial King spun like a top, throwing out punch after punch. The rotating energy the Martial King imbued into his fists rained down on Nocturne.
Boom! Boom! Boom! Nocturne and the Martial King exchanged a tremendous number of strikes. Arms and shins collided, their attacks using the same positions, angles, forms, and techniques. They looked so similar that they seemed to be clones or a person fighting with their reflection in a mirror.
The disciple and his master. No matter where he went, the Martial King always stated that Nocturne was his disciple. Was it because of the hierarchy between them? Nocturne’s fury rose as he realized that he was doing the same martial arts as the Martial King. However, the power of Nocturne’s strikes couldn’t compare, and the Martial King had an overwhelming advantage.
Whenever their arms collided, the impact tore Nocturne’s arms, and whenever their shins collided, Nocturne’s shins broke. When their fists collided, Nocturne’s fists were shattered. However, whenever the Martial King pushed Nocturne into a corner, Nocturne used one of Allforone’s skills, Immortal, to quickly restore his body and counterattack.
『You…you…!』 Nocturne’s voice was full of anger. He had come because he wanted to completely cut off his past and get rid of the master who had treated him like a lab rat. He wanted to start anew, and this was his way of doing so.
Nocturne could not imagine how he could continue living if he didn’t do this. In fact, he had even contemplated suicide. However, as their battle continued, Nocturne discovered that the Martial King had a greater influence on him than he had thought. Each step, action, breath, and even his heartbeat….the Martial King read and understood them all, even the way Nocturne planned to deal with the Martial King.
Although Nocturne deliberately tried to use Allforone’s skills and powers, they had a more supplementary role, and Nocturne instinctively fell back on what was familiar to him. Everything he had accomplished was thanks to the Martial King, and it was impossible to get rid of the Martial King’s influence on him.
As the fight with the Martial King continued, Nocturne slowly came to the realization that even if he defeated the Martial King here, he would never escape the Martial King’s influence. It would follow him like a shadow.
Nocturne felt as though he were suffocating. However, the thing that bothered him the most was that the Martial King was treating him like a lab rat until the very end. Didn’t the Martial King tell his youngest disciple to watch the fight? At the moment, the Martial King was using clean, powerful, and fundamental strikes rather than flashy and more powerful movements. Furthermore, the Martial King was forcing Nocturne to use everything he had in his arsenal.
The Martial King was doing all of this to help his disciple, telling Yeon-woo to reach for the stars while stomping on Nocturne’s pride.
『You…until the end…!』Nocturne realized that the master he trusted was toying with him even now. This brought even more pain to Nocturne. A sense of inferiority reared its ugly head within Nocturne’s chest. It seemed to howl.
The Martial King casually swept past Nocturne’s defenses and hit Nocturne’s chest with his elbow. With a bang, a hole the size of his head appeared on Nocturne’s chest. Nocturne sucked in air as he flew back, his eyes still burning fiercely.
“Stupid.” When he saw Nocturne’s burning gaze, the Martial King clucked his tongue and gently scolded Nocturne, as if he were asking a young child why it was acting so foolishly. That attitude made Nocturne even angrier.
“You still don’t know?”
『What do you mean?』
“I’ve raised three disciples and had dozens of children,” the Martial King said as his eyes narrowed. “Only one of them is worthy of being called my best disciple.”
For some reason, Nocturne felt like he was choking back rising emotion.