Cross was waiting outside of his tent with a restless mind . To be honest, his confidence in the success of what he planned to do was less than fifty percent . If it was the old him, there would be no way he would do something so reckless like this . However, he had already begun . It seemed Sila’s presence also influenced him in a way that he didn’t realize .
The sound of weak footsteps came from the direction of the gathering . Jundtrathep was walking slowly, her mind nervous . Similar to Cross, she wasn’t confident in herself at all .
During the course of her travel, she was diligently practicing lines in her head . Jundtrathep sincerely hoped that her rejection wouldn’t be too harsh to the man .
Finally, Jundtrathep arrived at the destination . Witnessing Cross’ anxious expression, she took a deep breath and quickly declared her will before things became more complicated .
“E-Erm . T-Thank you very much for sharing your feelings with me . However, I believe we still don’t know each other that well . Also, I, umm, I-I already have someone I like . How about… we become . . . friends?”
In all her honesty, Jundtrathep didn’t even know what she was saying . She didn’t know whether Cross wanted to make a new friend . As far as she knew, Cross’ friends only consisted of Fargo and Shueria .
Nevertheless, Cross’ reaction was unlike any of her expectations . He looked at her as if he was looking at a freak .
“What are you talking about? Hurry up and put on the ring . We’re short on time . ”
Jundtrathep panicked and instinctively replied, “Even if you force me, there is no way I will—”
Cross frowned at her words as he explained, “Oi! Don’t misunderstand . By putting on the rings, our stats will increase by twenty percent when we fight together, we can always teleport to each other, and it’s impossible to block communications between us . You’re extremely important to this war . No matter what it takes, I can’t let you die . ”
“Eh? I-I see . ” Jundtrathep followed Cross’ train of thought and became embarrassed at herself .
“It’s fine if you have understood . Hurry up and wear the ring . That guy will arrive soon . ”
Jundtrathep took one of the rings in the box and put it on her left ring finger . Then, the other ring flew to Cross . The man held onto it, feeling hesitant . He stared at it with mournful eyes as he had originally prepared the rings for someone else . However, a moment later, he sighed and put it on his left ring finger .
Once both silver rings were equipped by the couple, the system added new social status, Lover, to the two players without their consent .
Realizing how she was valued in high regard, Jundtrathep couldn’t help but express her doubt . “Umm . . . Can I ask a question?”
“Just say it . ”
“Am I that important? Even though I always stayed within Big Brother Tiger’s group, I noticed either Mister Fargo or Mister Shueria frequently came to look after us every hour . ”
Cross nodded . He wasn’t looking at her though . Even before she had arrived, he seemed to always be on guard, surveying the area .
“Yes, you are . Your skills are very important, especially Land of Promises . It’s the reason why you’re being sent to Siaferia City’s battlefield instead of the other ones . This battle requires your skills the most . They will play a large role in determining who wins and who loses . ”
Jundtrathep still didn’t understand . True, she knew that Land of Promises was a fraudulent skill . However, its weaknesses were big . Its duration was short while the cooldown was long . Moreover, the most glaring weakness was the fact that she couldn’t move while the skill was in effect . Raiding a city requires the attackers to constantly be on the move . Her skill shouldn’t be as helpful as Cross’ claimed .
“The duration of the skill is just half an hour though . ”
“It seems you still don’t understand . An overpowered skill is not something that is only scary when it is active . There are many ways we can use it to our advantage simply by possessing it . Just your presence alone can reassure the army and heighten their morale . More importantly, do you know why we weren’t ambushed even once despite our army size being significantly inferior to Siaferia City’s?”
“Wasn’t it because our camp is in proximity to the Single-Horned Dragon Forest?”
“That was only a part of the reason . However, the real reason was because of your presence . Montra has seen the result brought by your skill . A battle that he could surely win, like the ambush in the Victorious Wolves Sect, can turn out to be a loss . He is a smart guy, so he won’t risk going outside of the fortified city . As long as you still haven’t used the skill, the situation will be like this for a while . ”
It was exactly as Cross said . Despite having a long cooldown and a short duration when the skill is active, it possesses the potential to overturn the result of a battle . Land of Promises’ presence was especially powerful in an important battle where they couldn’t afford to lose .
Both Kawin and Montra had discussed beforehand that they would stay inside the city, gaining benefit from Montra’s Emperorship . Only when Jundtrathep had either died or expended the skill would they disregard the buff and march their army outside of the city . They planned to crush the Royal Armament Guild’s army within the span of a week before the skill’s cooldown finishes .
In this kind of situation, not using it was equivalent to constantly using it .
“Let me warn you . No matter what happens, even if any of your friends are dying—I don’t care, just don’t ever activate Land of Promises . I’ll personally tell you when to use it . ”
“How will you tell me though?”
Cross showed the ring on his finger . “You’ll surely get the message . The timing is incredibly important . We can’t afford to be too early or too late, even by a minute . ”
“I understand . Let’s head back to the main army, then . Everyone must be waiting . ”
“No one is waiting . I ordered them to move without us . ”
“Eh? We won’t participate in the raid, then?”
“This is essentially a mock raid, just for probing their defense . I let Tiger handle it so that he will get used to managing a large army . As for us, we also have our own battle . From now on, stay behind me . If something bad happens, use this crystal to teleport to Shueria . Understand?”
Cross pushed a Crystal of Connecting to Jundtrathep’s hand .
She held it, blinking confusedly . “What do you mean?”
Cross pulled her to his back, his eyes glaring at the forest . His reply was short . “He’s here . ”
Cross’ short sentence didn’t require further explanation . Even though Jundtrathep had yet to see a silhouette of the arriving person, just a mass of darkness and the chilling wind, accompanied by drifting tree leaves in an unnatural way, was enough for her to realize that an ominous presence had arrived .
The sun had yet to set, yet it seemed like this area around them had already reached twilight . While wondering about the reason, Jundtrathep noticed that it was neither because of the sky, climate, nor the position of the sun . The murky atmosphere came from black dots of mana contaminating the air .
“Zazae, no need to hide . I know you’re here . ”
The shadow of death, or rather the Heavenly Dragon Guild’s best assassin, made an abrupt appearance next to a tree . Zazae was fully covered in a robe, preventing everyone from seeing his face . Only his gleaming eyes, together with his naked feet, were visible .
Zazae’s approaching steps didn’t make any noise, but they exerted mysterious pressure that almost suffocated Jundtrathep .
“You can even detect my presence? You’ve improved from before, huh, Cross?”
“Heh . You hid in between my camp and the forest, taking advantage of the fact that my people didn’t dare to enter the forest and the Single-Horned Dragons don’t like going outside . You may be a prodigy regarding qi, but you’re an amateur when it comes to psychic power . No matter how well you conceal your qi, your mental oppression is out in the open . ”
Apparently, all of Cross’ skills had been copied by Zazae . However, his skill pool focused on heightening his mental oppression and controlling weapons . Even he had a difficult time hiding his killing intent . For Zazae to watch him, it was needless to say that he would detect the man’s presence . Just sensing familiar psychic power from the forest was more than enough for him to identify the culprit . It was a no-brainer since Single-Horned Dragons couldn’t use psychic power .
“Are you saying that you realized, yet you didn’t run away?”
“Run away? Why would I? This is the perfect chance for me to get back at you for what you did . ”
Cross emitted psychic power, pushing Jundtrathep further behind, and took out two ordinary-looking broadswords . His entire body was enveloped by psychic power reinforcement . He knew that Zazae had activated Dragon Domain . Refusing to fall for the same trick twice, he immediately took action .
“The fallen Sword Emperor . What a letdown . Even your swords are cheap tools . Regardless, no matter how pitiful you are in your final moments, you aren’t worthy of being my main target . Alas, as a show of thanks for the skills you gave me, I will let you die within three moves . ”
Zazae’s title, the Three Stars Warlord, wasn’t just for show . With a few exceptions, he has never needed to deliver a fourth strike to an opponent
Zazae possessed Frost Demon Qi, one of Ten Supreme Qi, as his foundation . The qi was outstanding in its circulation speed and its freezing aura . Not only could he exert qi reinforcement in a short period of time, but his base movement speed also improved greatly . His ability to speedily shift his power in an instant was his deadliest weapon . He could swiftly pour all his qi into his dagger, achieving pulverizing attack power . While that moment would leave himself defenseless, he could always migrate the power back into his body, taking less than a second .
Another indispensable factor was the Skeleton Dragon’s magic power that had the ability to weaken, or even nullify, his opponents’ power . No matter how sturdy his opponent was, Zazae would just get rid of their defense by invalidating their energy reinforcement . Then, his dagger would fly to their vital spot, killing them neatly .
In addition to the above qualities, Zazae still had a chain whip to restrict his opponent’s movements . His proficiency at using hidden weapons also ranked among the top five of all players .
Unsurprisingly, Zazae’s main target was Jundtrathep . After he had finished taking care of Lone Wolf, he rushed to this place as his next destination . His duty was to travel all over the Main Continent, assassinating important figures that would become threats to the Heavenly Dragon Guild .
Zazae wasn’t the kind of a guy who looked down on his opponents despite his speeches giving off that impression . He was simply confident, and it wasn’t baseless confidence at all . Even when Lone Wolf and Cross joined forces to fight him, he could still win . With his estimation of Cross’ fighting ability, he was being honest when he said he could kill Cross within three moves .
Zazae was a player who possessed enough strength to be considered an Emperor . However, he didn’t like being in the spotlight . He was satisfied with the title Three Stars Warlord despite his fighting ability being far above that of the other Warlords .
Taking a side glance, Cross noticed that the Crystal of Connecting in Jundtrathep’s hand had stopped glowing after Zazae’s arrival .
Cross shifted his gaze to a faintly glowing bracelet on Zazae’s left wrist . Just a glance could tell that it was an item produced in the Android Kingdom . It seemed the unsealed Android Kingdom possessed advanced technology of unimaginable level . The bracelet must have some ability that prevents the use of dimension-related items .
“Rhythm of the Imperial Graveyard!”
The two swords flew out of Cross’ hands before two more swords appeared in their places . Seeing how Cross wielded dual swords, people’s common sense would think that he was a melee fighter . However, Zazae was aware that Cross’ fighting style was to control weapons in mid-air through psychic power . Thus, the distance at which he was the most dangerous wasn’t melee, but mid-range .
Zazae moved as fast as a shadow . He threw a metal ball attached to a chain whip forward while brandishing a scythe, which attached to the other end of the same chain whip, to the right . Both attacks were aimed at Jundtrathep .
The length of the chain whip seemed endlessly long . It also had irregular movements due to Zazae’s psychic power . One attack flew directly while the other one took a detour around Cross .
Cross had no choice . To protect Jundtrathep, he drew both swords in his hands, parrying both ends of the chain whip .
Coming into contact with the chain whip imbued with magic power generated by Zazae’s Dragon Scales, Cross’ psychic power sharply fell and his body felt heavy . It was only Zazae’s first move, but he had already been affected by Skeleton Dragon’s weakening magic power .
Unfortunately for Cross, he had a burden called Jundtrathep, so he was caught in Zazae’s attack in a single move . Honestly speaking, Zazae felt rather disappointed by it .
Zazae’s body vanished and miraculously reappeared in front of Cross . He unsheathed a dagger hanging from his waist, cladding it with qi . The length of the blade extended, becoming like a sword .
Zazae was aware that Cross was a member of the undead race . The man wouldn’t die easily . Thus, he intended to sever Cross’s neck once and for all .
As if it were a desperate attempt, Cross swung a sword at Zazae . It was the last struggle before death . The sword without psychic power reinforcement was no different from a wooden block . Zazae had no intention to even spare it a look .
However, in the very last second, Zazae noticed a strange light in Cross’ eyes and realized that something was wrong . Those eyes didn’t belong to a desperate man . His intuition ordered him to jump back, and that helped him to escape from death . Cross’ sword only managed to graze his face, leaving a long wound .
“Tch!” Cross let out a short exclamation, showing displeasure . He planned to exploit Zazae’s moment of carelessness, killing the guy . Well, he hadn’t let his hopes get too high . Mind Concealment was a skill he hadn’t had much success with .
Zazae noticed what had gone wrong only when he had stepped back . Apparently, Cross didn’t wield a sword in each of his hands, but two . Cross had been using psychic power, controlling two more swords to float near the two swords in his hands . What had come into contact with the chain whip were the floating swords, so the weakening power of Dragon Scales didn’t affect Cross’ body .
Cross had pretended to be weak, concealing his psychic power and waiting for Zazae to approach him . He had planned to kill Zazae at the range that favored the Three Star Warlord the most .
Cross kicked off the ground, leaping toward Zazae . However, his movement speed was inferior to Zazae’s . It was worth mentioning that Zero, Sila, Bluebird, and Zazae were the best when it came to pure speed .
Nevertheless, that was only when there wasn’t interference .
“Angel’s Wings . ”
Jundtrathep activated the mid-tier supporting spell she had cast and delayed beforehand . Her ability to read situations and utilize magic spells had greatly improved compared to before . She had learned to use magic power reinforcement, Magic Delay, and seize the right timing . Moreover, with Couple’s Rings of Commitment combined with Cross’ command-type psychic power, the man could give her instructions through mental communication .
A pair of white wings protruded from Cross’ back . His speed got an abrupt boost . His entire body was like a flying arrow, the sword in his hand pointing forward as if it were an arrowhead .
Zazae gritted his teeth and fired several kunai, pressuring Cross to defend against them . However, unlike his expectation, Cross simply grinned . The man didn’t choose to dodge . In fact, he didn’t even bother putting up his defense .
The sword pierced through Zazae’s shoulder as Cross was stabbed by a dozen kunai .
The end had yet to come . Cross flicked both hands once, pouring dozens of swords from his system window . Given how close the distance between him and Zazae was, he could easily encircle Zazae with swords .
The swords vibrated heavily as Zazae tried to push them away while Cross pulled them in . The level of their psychic power was equal, so their actions only made the swords remain transfixed in mid-air .
The swords suddenly became red, blinking .
Zazae now realized his mistake . He didn’t expect Cross to pull off a suicidal attack, using a powerful skill at a distance where both of them would be affected .
In any case, Cross knew how dangerous and risky his strategy would be . He had considered the possibility that he wouldn’t survive this fight . That was why he had assigned all of the work to Tiger just in case .
With an ear-shattering explosion, fragments of swords scattered in every direction . Cross’ move was similar to what he had used against Sila . At that time, even Sila didn’t dare to receive the attack head-on . He had to rely on the many techniques of Six Moon-Grabbing-Claws to reduce the power of the explosion .
Zazae didn’t excel in defense . There was no way he could survive a move that Cross specifically designed to take down Zero .
Amidst the cloud of smoke, there appeared a faint light . A gust of wind generated by qi soon blew the smoke away, showing Zazae who stood alone without a single injury . Well, he would have lost if it wasn’t for Dragon Heart .
“A splendid last move, Cross . You have my respect . ”
Zazae shifted his gaze to Jundtrathep, his main target who foolishly didn’t run away . In any case, given his speed, she wouldn’t be able to escape his clutch even if she ran .
“It’s now your turn . ”
Zazae took a step forward . However, he stopped shortly after . He could sense dreadful power locking on him . Just the killing intent alone already grazed his reinforced skin, leaving shallow wounds .
It was a powerful killing intent belonging to a fearsome beast on the verge of dying . Turning around, Zazae noticed Cross leaning against a tree—the man’s legs were broken, his armor shattered, his right arm missing, his left hand snapped, and kunai sticking out of his chest, neck, and shoulders . Still, Cross’ eyes were unyielding . The level of Mental Oppression the man exerted was worlds apart from before .
The change in level of Cross’ psychic power was so fierce that Zazae didn’t dare to move despite his target, Jundtrathep, being only fifteen steps away from him . Given his speed, he could comfortably kill her in a couple of seconds . However, as mentioned above, he didn’t dare to move .
The pressure Zazae perceived was as if he was imprisoned within a cage together with a wild, vicious animal . This feeling had occurred to him once before when he faced off against Mamon .
It was a feeling of fear . The shadow of death—which had usually been his presence toward his targets—was now creeping toward him .
Zazae didn’t find it strange when Mamon was the one pressuring him . However, the man crawling in front of him was merely Cross—a man who not only was inferior to him but was also on the verge of dying . In fact, Cross might die in a matter of seconds even if he did nothing .
“What did you do?” Zazae asked reflexively . He was totally clueless as to what was going on .
“Told you . You’re an amateur when it comes to psychic power, Zazae . As I am now, even if I can’t move, I can still kill you within three moves, no doubt about it!”