Return of the Frozen Player - Chapter 621
“Why did they do something I didn’t tell them to do…”
Count Horizon burned the report while expressing his discomfort. The report was interesting, but he wasn’t impressed with the way they had decided to handle the situation.
‘I understand that they’re worried about the others taking their credit, but…’
Their actions meant that their success was much more important than their lord’s will.
Count Horizon also felt uneasy since he still hadn’t received any report about the successful takeover of Karshut Mine.
Of course, Count Horizon was willing to forgive their impudence if they succeeded.
‘If the report is true, the South must be chaotic at the moment.’
There had been a rumor about how Count Gorgon had fallen ill, and Count Horizon had been pushing the envelope to confirm whether the rumor was true or not.
‘So it’s true…’’ Count Horizon briefly calculated to figure out just how much time it would take him to conquer the South if he were to invade.
‘To be honest, I don’t care about the troops.’
Battles in the Underworld were often won by killing the leader of the enemies. If the leader perished, the rest would be easily absorbed by the winner.
‘I have about seventy percent chance of winning against Gorgon.’ It was a conclusion he had drawn based on the presumption that Count Gorgon was sick. ‘It’s definitely worth trying.’
Count Horizon pondered for quite a while before standing up. ‘If I’m going to fight Gorgon anyway, I need to do it as quickly as possible. I have to take over the South without giving the North and the East time to intervene.’
Someone knocked on the door of his office…
“Brother, it’s me.”
“Come on in.”
A demon who looked like Horizon walked in and said, “Brother, did you get into trouble again?”
“What? What kind of bullshit are you talking about?”
Count Horizon frowned.
Vista shook the box in his hand and shrugged. “I thought something must have happened because Gorgon sent something here.”
“...Wait a minute. Gorgon sent something?”
Count Horizon’s expression changed.
He opened the box and saw a crystal ball.
“Get out. I’ll take a look at this.”
“Can’t we just watch it together?”
“I just told you to fuck off.”
Vista grumbled and obliged.
Count Horizon infused his demonic energy into the crystal ball, and he gnashed his teeth at the scene that unfolded before his eyes.
“Ah, damn it.”
The corpses of the Southern Army littered the vicinity of the Karshut Mine.
Count Horizon fell into deep thought.
‘Did they die because those morons were defeated?’
Count Horizon’s expression turned ugly at the thought of it.
Meanwhile, the scene in the crystal ball changed. The background of the next short video was still the Karshut Mine.
A messy-looking Malcolm was on the screen, and he was shaking his head with an incredulous look.
- N-no way…! This is just a-absurd. How and why are you here?”
- ...The long-standing peace is over.”
Count Horizon frowned at the familiar voice.
‘Hold on. Just where did I hear that voice?’
Count Horizon wasn’t familiar with many demons, but the voice he heard sounded incredibly familiar to him. Fortunately, he soon received an answer to his question.
Malcolm was killed, and the video panned over someone else.
“What the…?” Count Horizon abruptly stood up. ‘What the hell is that bastard doing there?’
Malcolm’s murderer turned out to be Count Orpheus of the North.
The man’s physique, face, and voice definitely belonged to Count Orpheus.
‘No, let’s not jump to conclusions here. This must be Gorgon’s machinations.’
It was a reasonable suspicion, as there were many demons capable of imitating someone in the Underworld.
The crystal ball changed scenes, and a calm voice echoed.
- Long time no see, Horizon.
Count Horizon instinctively realized that this was a live feed rather than a recording, so he sat back down.
“What the hell are you up to?” he asked.
- How absurd. You’re the one who’s been up to some shit, you bastard. You invaded my land first.
Count Horizon had no excuse, so he hurriedly changed the topic.
“So? What was that video all about? What are you trying to do with such a crude trick?”
- It’s not a trick.
“Hah! Are you telling me that asshole actually went all the way down to the South to kill everyone by himself?”
- I don’t know why he did that, but I’m not lying to you.
Count Gorgon grabbed his own horns and continued.
- I swear on my horns.
Count Horizon’s expression turned grim upon seeing the red hue that Gorgon’s horns were emitting. The horns of demons didn’t just indicate the demons’ strength but their status and honor as well. In other words, no demon would swear on their horns and lie.
“Is it really Orpheus?”
- I’m not sure about that. There’s also a chance that someone has imitated him to confuse us both, but…
- 4 Arch demons, 78 High demons, and ten thousand soldiers were annihilated. There were also no traces of their presence in the vicinity.
It was certainly an uncommon situation because there weren’t many demons capable of doing such a thing by themselves. A demon had to be at least on the same level as the Counts—a Star Destruction Stage creature—for them to do such slaughter.
“But there’s something strange about this…” Count Horizon trailed off before saying, “We both know that Orpheus isn’t an idiot. He must be aware that he would be accused the moment he used the Power of Vain.”
- Yes, but I don’t think Orpheus really cares about that.
Count Horizon couldn’t deny Count Gorgon’s remarks. The strongest out of the four Counts was Count Orpheus, and he had always been thirsty for a fight. The only reason the balance between the four Counts still existed was because the three Counts had agreed to join forces for the sake of keeping Orpheus in check.
“That bastard is strong, but he can’t deal with the rest of us at the same time.”
- But what if he had already made a deal with the East?
“...No way.” Count Horizon shook his head and said, “She’s a dumb birch, but there’s no way she’ll fail to recognize that she’s the next target after the fall of the South and the West.”
- ...What if Orpheus promised her that he would hand over the entire Underworld to her?
“Are you out of your mind? Why would he do that?”
- It is possible. Orpheus is convinced that he’s going to become a Transcendent.
“...!” Count Horizon's eyes widened. ‘Damn it. That’s… definitely a possibility. With that thought in mind, the puzzle fits perfectly. It finally makes sense why Orpheus had done such a thing.’
Orpheus would lose all reason to stay in the Underworld upon becoming a Transcendent, so he would be more than willing to sacrifice the Underworld for the sake of killing Count Horizon and Count Gorgon.
‘There’s no way he’ll stick down here.’
It would be easy for Orpheus to conquer a few galaxies as a Transcendent.
Count Horizon gnashed his teeth.
‘So they’re really out to kill me, huh?’
They were trying to kill the leaders of the West and the South.
Count Horizon pondered briefly before asking, “Why do you think Orpheus has a chance of becoming a Transcendent?”
- Did you recognize the purple demonic stone that he took at the end of the video?
“It wasn’t just an ordinary demonic stone?”
- I call it the Flower of Evil.’
“Flower of Evil?”
- The reason behind Karshut Mine’s bountiful demonic stones deposit was the existence of the Flower of Evil. The Flower of Evil is capable of converting the surrounding rocks into demonic stones.
- The announcement about how Karshut Mine is the second-largest demonic stone deposit is not true. Karshut Mine actually holds an infinite number of demonic stones, and it’s all thanks to the Flower of Evil. It’s the biggest demonic stone mine.
- The Flower of Evil’s existence is unprecedented throughout the history of the Underworld. The only demons who know about it are me, Haran, and Fricks.
The cogs in Count Horizon’s brain turned violently. He didn’t tell Count Gorgon, but he was already aware of the dissatisfaction that Count Gorgon’s subordinates harbored toward him.
In fact, a subordinate had already betrayed Count Gorgon.
‘If he’s not lying… those traitors may have already contacted the North just like they contacted me.’
There was a high chance that Count Gorgon’s subordinates had contacted Orpheus as their Plan B in case Count Horizon refused their offer.
‘Maybe they contacted Orpheus first and chose me as their Plan B.’
“...In other words, Orpheus needs a lot of demonic energy.”
- Yes. I personally think it’s because he’s preparing to make a breakthrough into the Transcendent Stage.
‘Everything adds up, then. It all makes sense now.’ Count Horizon organized his thoughts and said, “All right then. There have been some unpleasant incidents between us recently, but let’s cooperate for the time being.”
- How brazen of you.
“How is it any different from you personally reaching out to me?”
Count Gorgon also had no choice but to cooperate with Count Horizon to survive.
“But...” Count Horizon glared at the crystal ball with flashing eyes. “I’m going to send my brother to Karshut Mine to check the scene. If you’re not lying, there’s no reason for you to say no. Is there?”
- I find your suggestion unpleasant, but I guess I have no choice if I want you to trust me. However, I will also deploy my troops just in case.
“Do as you please. My brother will arrive there in a week.”
The communication between the two soon ended, but both Count Gorgon and Count Horizon remained in their seats for quite a while, seemingly lost in their own thoughts.
There were too many demons in Karshut Mine, which made the tension shoot through the roof.
“Vista, sir. Are you sure we’re going to be okay?”
Vista burst into laughter at his subordinate’s worry.
“Why? Are you scared?”
“...There are too many troops here.”
The South had dispatched thirty-thousand Low to Common demons, more than a hundred High demons, and ten Arch demons. It would be no exaggeration to say that the South had dispatched ninety percent of their armed forces here.
If the Southern Army were to head West with so many troops, an all-out war would definitely break out between the South and the West.
“Don’t worry. We’re here for the final check before the alliance is made.”
Vista confidently crossed the front line and walked toward Karshut Mine. He looked around the mine under the gazes of many demons.
“So this is Karshut Mine…” he muttered. Karshut Mine truly had too many demonic stones. Vista and Count Horizon had been coveting the mine for a long time, so it wasn’t strange that Vista was awed by the sight in front of him.
He walked into the mine under the glares of the South’s Arch demons.
“Go ahead and check this place out.”
The demonic stone specialists he had brought from the West started walking around the mine. A few hours later, the specialists returned and reported.
“The story about the so-called Flower of Evil is most likely true, sir.”
“The quality of the demonic stones here has fallen sharply. It feels like the mine has suddenly lost all of its vitality.”
“This mine has become no different from the demonic stone mines we have in the West.”
“...Is that so?” Vista nodded and left the mine.
He approached the southern nobles who were gathered on one side.
“I’m done checking everything.”
“So? What’s your decision?”
“It’s a deal.”
The alliance between the West and the South was formed right there and then.
Meanwhile, Seo Jun-Ho was currently in disguise with the help of the Transformation Art. He was approaching a certain city with the physique, face, and aura of a southern noble.
- Partner, the barracks are vacant. I think things went much better than we thought.
“For sure. It’s finally worth a try now.”
Seo Jun-Ho was heading to Count Gorgon’s castle.