Just the fact that Cross was still alive was already shocking enough for Zazae . Beyond that, he even sensed that Cross had become stronger despite being in a state where he couldn’t physically move . The scene prompted Zazae to go over what he knew about psychic power again .
It was common knowledge that psychic power was something that didn’t require extensive training to develop . Psychic ability will gradually strengthen itself through the user’s understanding . In addition, during moments of crisis, it has the potential to get a boost in power, surpassing the user’s current limits .
Zazae was aware of those aforementioned facts . However, he never paid them any mind .
Saying training is not required is just an excuse for lazy people, who want to slack off and hope they will become stronger by doing nothing . That was the very reason why Zazae selected qi type . His strength came from diligent training . Qi, which was the most stable and versatile, was naturally the most suitable for his playstyle .
As for the ‘breaking through limits’ part, Zazae guessed it was somewhat accurate . However, based on his experience in which he had slain over a hundred psychic-type players, he had never encountered anyone who received a boost in power as intense as Cross just did . At the very best, they only got a subtle increase in stats . Not even once had he seen someone actually break their limits and seem like a completely different person afterward .
Unbeknownst to Zazae, Cross had predicted this exact line of thinking from him . For someone extremely skilled like Zazae, even when he had copied Cross’ psychic ability, it was likely that he had never experienced a grave crisis . Even when Zazae was losing to Mamon, his psychic power still didn’t develop . The main reason for that was because he had assessed the situation and believed that he could survive by escaping . It was completely different from Cross at this very moment . Cross was on the brink of death and only felt desperation . For him, there were only two ways this could end: he wins, or he dies .
Due to self-confidence, Zazae had been neglecting his psychic power . Just his qi and magic abilities were already more than enough to overwhelm any of his enemies, defeating them within three moves . He rarely used psychic power in decisive battles . It was regretful though . Psychic power is something that will best develop when used in real battles rather than in training sessions . It could be said that the Envy Card lost most of its value in his possession .
Honestly speaking, the mistake didn’t lay in the card that Montra handpicked for Zazae . Regardless of which card from the Seven Deadly Sins set he was given, they would always be unsuitable for him . Zazae was the type to rely on himself rather than items . As such, the Envy skill failed to exert its full potential .
In fact, in the battle which Zazae fought against Cross and Lone Wolf, he believed he still would have won even without the Envy card .
It was really regretful . With just a single glance at the Envy card’s ability, it was very obvious that the Demon of Envy, the original Leviathan, was a psychic type creature . Its psychic power was incredibly unique, possessing the ability to completely change its property to become qi or magic power according to its will .
For the record, the Water Dragon Leviathan was actually one of its clones . The Demon of Envy had several clones, with each wielding a different kind of power . The Water Dragon was one of the few among them who developed their own egos, though it later got lost and ended up in the New World .
Since he was already so strong and confident, Zazae unknowingly stopped himself from struggling to become stronger . Deep down in his mind, he was already satisfied with his own fighting ability . Ultimately, that thought hindered the growth of the psychic power he copied from Cross .
Not advancing was the same as regressing .
In conclusion, it was safe to say that psychic power was the least compatible energy type for Zazae . If he had chosen to become a psychic-type player, his combat ability would have failed to develop as much and he would be stuck at the same level as Savage Killer, who was one of Lost Ghost’s henchmen .
Furthermore, even now, he was making another simple mistake . While it was common knowledge that psychic power can get a boost in power according to the user’s state of mind, only legitimate psychic-type players were aware that the reverse also applied . Psychic power can deteriorate according to the user’s state of mind as well . In a battle between psychic-type players, the side that could intimidate the opponent would have an overwhelming advantage .
The instant Zazae felt fear, the psychic power within him started to hinder his movements . Although the effect was subtle, it could be a key factor in an important battle, leading to one’s demise .
As the atmosphere intensified, Zazae had only one instinctive approach to handle the feeling of fear: eliminate the source of it .
Hidden weapons, clad with qi, were fired backward . Each kunai was imbued with Sun God Qi, emitting intense heat that one would also feel from fireballs . Even against Cross who had become a fixed target, Zazae still excessively fired more than ten kunai simultaneously .
Cross didn’t move a muscle, but his killing intent flickered . The two former kunai, stuck in his body, slid out and floated in mid-air . They flashed red before flying into the group of flame kunai and exploding . The explosion swept away all the hidden weapons fired by Zazae, knocking them to the ground .
Cross’ psychic power quickly spread like an epidemic . This time, all ten or so kunai were in Cross’ control . They floated up before three of them then flew back at their previous owner, Zazae .
Zazae had expected something worse . He had long since researched Cross . Cross’ Psychic Boost, when used on objects away from him, would require two seconds before detonating . For a hidden weapon expert like him, two seconds were more than what he needed .
As Zazae circulated Frost Demon Qi into both hands, his arms seemingly vanished . His wrists’ movement speed was enhanced, catching all three kunai without any difficulties .
However, what Zazae had expected suddenly went wrong . The kunai flashed red only an instant before they exploded, far faster than what his brain could process . They blew up as soon as his fingers touched them, leaving no time for him to throw them away .
Apparently, Cross had broken his limit about requiring two seconds before the explosion . He could do it instantaneously now .
One shouldn’t compare psychic-type players on the verge of dying to their normal state . It could be the difference between heaven and earth . Zazae’s information was far outdated . As a result, he received more injuries than he thought despite being capable of avoiding the attack .
As Zazae’s arms were clad with qi, the damage to them was negligible . Psychic power was weak against qi, so this level of damage was to be expected . However, the same couldn’t be said for his torso, which became relatively defenseless when he focused his qi on both arms . The blow from the explosion pressed on his ribs, cracking them . He felt pain in his chest while constantly coughing out blood .
Zazae came to a sudden realization . Cross wasn’t his main target anyway . Based on the man’s grave injuries, as long as he could kill Jundtrathep who was a support type, Cross would eventually die .
Considering the possibility that his assassination might fail if he continued wasting his time on Cross, Zazae changed his mind to target Jundtrathep .
In any case, Cross had already predicted Zazae’s courses of action . To be honest, things would have been really desperate if Zazae had ignored him and focused on Jundtrathep from the start .
“Too late, Zazae! She already finished her spell!”
With her improved Incantation Shortening skill, coupled with Cross’ stalling for time, Jundtrathep could unleash a high-tier spell against a speedy player like Zazae .
“Summon the Guardians of Light!”
Ten angels dressed like knights appeared, standing between Jundtrathep and her enemy . However, that hardly discouraged Zazae . Rather, he became more elated . Based on his research, all racial skills belonging to the angel species prevented the user from moving while the skill was active . The ten angels didn’t pose him a problem at all . On the other hand, Jundtrathep, who had become a fixed target, would be easy prey for the Three Stars Warlord .
Zazae threw several grenades forward . Aside from common grenades, he also mixed some smoke bombs and flash bombs with them .
Relying on Cruise Breeze, Zazae broke the angels’ formation and forced them to take several steps back . He then fired a dozen kunai strengthened by Frost Demon Qi through the openings they created .
The grenades soon blew up—generating blasts, smoke, and flash—filling the entire area . Nothing could be seen for a moment . Meanwhile, all of the kunai curved toward Jundtrathep as if they had a homing function .
As the kunai were about to hit the young woman, several small round shields suddenly popped up, deviating their trajectories .
The identity of those small shields was obvious . They were formed by Light Shield, one of the most common magic skills, on par with Magic Arrow, which required no casting time . Truthfully speaking, the shields could barely block anything . However, depending on the angle together with the fact that magic power was strong against qi, they were enough to deviate the trajectory of small objects imbued with qi .
Magic is about timing . In fact, Zazae had seen Montra and Trick Master using well-placed Magic Shields to achieve something similar . However, he didn’t expect others, especially Jundtrathep, to reproduce the same feat .
Well, the difficulty levels between their usages were vast . Montra could utilize the shield while on the move and even in close combat . Trick Master could use it as he was casting many other spells, all simultaneously . On the other hand, Jundtrathep used it when she was standing still and didn’t cast other spells in conjunction . That was why her work was done quite decently .
Zazae made one mistake after another . As he wasted time finishing off Jundtrathep, Cross’ attack had arrived . The remaining seven kunai broke into pieces and were replaced by psychic swords . As if ghosts were wielding them, the attacks bombarded Zazae from different angles . He had to constantly parry them with his dagger and chain whip .
For the best assassins like Zazae, it was typical for jobs to end quickly . Throughout his entire history as an assassin, he had never been in a brawl or engaged in a prolonged battle . Staying defensive had never been his forte .
Zazae had confidently declared that he would kill Cross within three moves . However, the number of blows he delivered had already exceeded thirty, yet no one had died .
Five of the Guardians of Light abandoned their usual duties of protecting Jundtrathep and joined the brawl . They surrounded the Three Stars Warlord and brandished their lances from a relatively safe distance . Their attacks were nicely coordinated with Cross’ bombardment, further driving Zazae into a corner .
“Why?” Zazae let out a short exclamation . Based on his intel, the user shouldn’t be able to control the Guardians of Light to this degree . At most, the guardians would only follow basic commands such as attack, defend, or select a target . However, the surrounding Guardians of Light were systemically attacking him as if they had undergone intense group training . All of their attacks were in sync with Cross’ in an unbelievable manner .
Cross showed a grin . It was the result of a synergy effect that even he hadn’t expected . The secret of the coordinated attacks came from him using a command-type psychic ability to finely control the Guardians of Light . What made his action possible was none other than the Couple’s Rings of Commitment . Anything that belonged to Jundtrathep also belonged to him, turning the Guardians of Light into something like a part of his own skill .
Members of the angel species were always pure magic types . There was no way for them to possess command-related skills which usually belonged to psychic-types . Unexpectedly, the synergy effect was so amazing that it went beyond both Zazae and Cross’ imaginations .
Even when he was busy battling against Zazae, Cross was already imagining how he would make use of this new discovery to break through the impenetrable Siaferia City .
The longer the battle dragged on, the more disadvantageous Zazae’s situation became . He realized that he couldn’t win this fight . His mission might fail today, but there were many days ahead in the future . The war event had only just begun, so he believed that there would be more chances awaiting him .
Zazae concentrated his qi for the last time, circulating it even quicker than ever with the help of the Ray Assemble and Cruise Breeze qi techniques . He unleashed Sun God Qi with himself as a center, turning himself into a human torch and burning the surroundings, including the Guardians of Light and psychic swords .
“I admit you’re something, Cross, but next time won’t be the same . ”
“Next time?” The corner of Cross’ lips crooked up . “There won’t be one . You shall die right here and now!”
Cross was well aware that letting Zazae go at this time would lead to a big problem . The next time that Zazae attacked, the man would be more prepared . On the other hand, if he managed to kill Zazae today, not only would it heighten his army’s morale, but it would also shatter the Heavenly Dragon Guild’s plan to assassinate the generals of any opposing factions .
For the record, in the previous war event, Zazae didn’t officially show up or engage in a battle against any vice-leaders or guild leaders . His duty was to keep assassinating raid leaders on many battlefields . When someone else was elected as the new raid leader, that person would be killed by him the next day . These players were far weaker than Zazae, so they were always killed within three moves, which led to him having the title Three Stars Warlord at a later point in time .
In any case, Zazae must die today . Such a good opportunity wouldn’t come again so easily .
Zazae tapped the bracelet, shutting off its spatial-interfering function, and took out a Crystal of Connecting . His body was enveloped by the light of teleportation .
While Cross was still gathering his psychic power, Zazae had already become a pillar of light and shot up to the sky .
‘It’s a pity . ’ That was Jundtrathep’s first thought . However, it changed once the ring on her left ring finger subtly informed her that the skill Cross was about to unleash wasn’t an offensive skill, but Psychic Manipulation .
Whether it was Mind Concealment or Psychic Manipulation, both were skills that Cross wasn’t proficient at using, so there was some delay before the results would show . He had to fully concentrate to make it work .
For the record, Psychic Manipulation is a skill that can divert the result of a skill or an item that has specific targets, changing the intended result . The less random the aiming is, the stronger Psychic Manipulation’s diversion becomes . It works especially well against single-target magic skills since they essentially lock on to a target and don’t miss .
As a side note, Divine once used the skill in a similar manner when the bandit group tried to invade the Slime Kingdom .
Jundtrathep perceived what she ought to do with her instinct . She ordered all of the Guardians of Light to encircle a certain area, waiting . Ten seconds later, the same white light shot back to the ground, at the same spot where Zazae had activated the Crystal of Connecting .
Zazae’s body had yet to become properly visible, but Cross didn’t wait and roared to Jundtrathep, “Do it now!!”
The ten Guardians of Light poured their attacks into the fading light, thrusting their lances at the exact same location .
Reappearing, Zazae was extremely shocked . He had thought he would return to the Heavenly Dragon Guild . However, as it turned out, he came back to the same place .
Frost Demon Qi was circulating throughout Zazae’s body, using his greatest speed possible . He relied on Worlds Crossing Bridge to redirect the courses of the lances, resulting in only one of them piercing him in the abdomen . As for the remaining nine, they interlaced around him, restraining his movement .
Even when taking the man off guard, they still failed to kill Zazae . Cross swore, “You’re sure damn hard to kill!”
Zazae used Hidden Weapon Firing, summoning another Crystal of Connecting into his hand . However, Cross also unleashed all of his killing intent with comparable speed . Even though it wasn’t a decisive moment between life and death, Cross’ psychic power acknowledged that if Zazae were to get away, the dead man next time would be him . He had to come up with a new idea, and fast .
An instant later, all of the Guardians of Light suddenly froze up and started blinking red .
Combination Move — Heroic Tombs of Light .
All ten of the Guardians of Light blew themselves up just before Zazae could use the item in his hand . Cross and Jundtrathep’s combined move wasn’t only powerful, but the explosion was also compressed into a smaller area shaped like a giant crucifix, as if the explosion served as a massive gravestone for the victim .
The forest became so bright that Cross and Jundtrathep couldn’t see anything for a while, before the light finally faded . As this happened they received the system notification, informing the two of the experience and gold they earned from defeating Zazae .
A pile of items was left on the ground . Among them, the most notable ones were (A) Spatial-Sealing Bracelet, (B) Dragon Tail Chain Whip, (C) Elite Dagger, and (S) Envy Card . Since Cross and Jundtrathep fought together as a couple, all of the items dropped on the ground instead of being directly transferred to their system windows .
Releasing a sigh of relief, Cross was glad that at least this breaking news would help to cover up what Sila intended to do tonight . The Heavenly Dragon Guild would have never imagined that the Three Stars Warlord, who was the strongest among the Five Warlords and had defeated countless generals, would die in the first week of the war event, without killing a single leader of opposing factions .