Return of the Frozen Player - Chapter 628
Following the demons through a long corridor, Seo Jun-Ho glanced down at his hand.
‘The ring is still on.’
The ring that Reiji had given him was still on his finger. If the ring was working properly, there was no way his identity would get exposed. However, he couldn't be entirely at ease since he had been so active recently.
‘Should I call her?’
Seo Jun-Ho briefly pondered something but refrained. If what was going to unfold in the courtyard wasn't a fight but a conversation, he wouldn't need it.
"Viscount Astol, please go down this path. You will eventually reach the courtyard."
After giving a slight nod to the bowing demon, Seo Jun-Ho walked alone into the courtyard, where the thick flowers of the Underworld were blooming.
A purple-skinned woman was seated on a bench, one leg crossed over the other, with her arms resting on the backrest. Sensing his presence, she turned her head slightly toward him.
"Oh, you're here?"
Her eyes sparkling with mischief were fixated on him. For a moment, Seo Jun-Ho felt like insects were crawling all over him. Lavue seemed indifferent as she scrutinized Seo Jun-Ho.
A brief silence followed, but he couldn't greet her for now. He had to make sure that he was perfectly Viscount Astol.
Seo Jun-Ho put on a slightly awkward smile and waved.
"Hmm? Ahh." Lavue seemed to have recalled something and nodded. "Did I tell you to keep quiet until I permitted it last time? Well, you can speak now."
"Phew, thank you very much. I thought I was going to suffocate from frustration."
Seo Jun-Ho nodded with a relieved smile.
"Enough with the pleasantries. I called you here because I have something to tell you."
"Please, go ahead."
"You’re leasing out the Servie Mine?"
Seo Jun-Ho's expression seemed to question why this topic was being brought up here, and he coupled this with a slightly disinterested tone.
"Viscount Toube must have been a difficult opponent. How did you manage to persuade him?"
"I paid for the rights to develop and commercially use Lake Renzas."
"Oh, that's clever. Very clever." Lavue nodded slightly and revealed a knowing smile. She withdrew her arms from the bench's backrest, uncrossed her legs, and leaned forward.
“Hmm. It seems you can do more than just take on appearances. You seem to possess the ability to read memories, too."
Seo Jun-Ho's smile that had just been there disappeared in an instant. He clicked his tongue softly as if he were annoyed.
"How did you figure it out?"
"I've cast some kind of spell on those who serve me. I’ll immediately know if someone has searched their memories. Of course, I’ll know if they’ve perished as well."
“Is that so?" Viscount Astol probably hadn’t realized it, so it wasn’t strange that Seo Jun-Ho hadn’t learned that from Viscount Astol’s memories.
"I thought perhaps there was a generational shift since Astol had died all of a sudden. But when I sent some underlings to check, oh my, he was alive and active. At first, I thought my spell was malfunctioning."
"But even after several checks, the spell was working fine. I knew it back then. Ah, you’re that guy." The public enemy of the Underworld was in her territory. Lavue's eyes glinted with a crafty light. "Don't get too worked up. I called you here today because I have a proposal."
"Yes. It won't be a bad one for you either. Listen."
She spread out four fingers.
"For the past few decades, Four counts have ruled over the Underworld. But this time, that balance has been broken." She folded a finger and continued. "You defeated Gorgon, so there are three of us left."
"What's your point?"
"Willing to join hands with me? If so, I’ll be able to fold two more fingers."
The unexpected proposal left Seo Jun-Ho speechless.
‘I thought all demons were the Archduke’s subjects?’
Strictly speaking, the demons thought of the Archduke as a deity.
Killing the Archduke’s enemies had to be one of their missions as well.
With a perplexed expression, Seo Jun-Ho asked, "You’re making such a proposal even though you know I'm an enemy of the archduke?"
"Pfft!" Lavue burst out laughing. She smiled as if she found Seo Jun-Ho’s remarks incredibly amusing.
"You? His enemy?" Lavue waved her hand in dismissal and said, "Not a single demon here thinks of you as his enemy. Not even close. You can't even be considered enemies of us, Counts."
"You know I defeated Gorgon, right?"
"What, do you really think that you’re some kind of hotshot after killing Gorgon?"
Seo Jun-Ho remained silent.
Lavue continued. "Gorgon was an idiot. I’m sure you don’t know, but Horizon confirmed it."
Seo Jun-Ho was still silent. Lavue thought that she had taken control of the conversation, so she folded her arms and said, "Kill Horizon and come back to me. I'll welcome you as a comrade by then. Let's join forces and take down Orpheus."
"Pfft!" Seo Jun-Ho burst out laughing.
He tried to suppress it, but he found Lavue’s words too funny for him to resist laughing.
"Puhahaha! Ah, sorry, I’m so sorry."
"...What's funny?" Lavue's brows furrowed.
"It’s funny because it’s amusing."
"Elaborate. What's funny?"
"Everything. From your proposal to your intimidating demeanor, they’re amusing." Seo Jun-Ho laughed heartily. "And the funniest thing is that you’re actually going to welcome me as your comrade once I’ve killed Horizon? Why would I become your comrade?"
"...Tsk. Are all humans as dense as you? Have you already forgotten where you are?"
"I know where I am. The eastern region of the Underworld, the domain of Countess Lavue."
And today was the Day of Tribute. The nobles of the eastern region had come personally carrying demonic stones to offer as a tribute for the sake of licking her boots.
Of course, the combined forces of the demons here were something that couldn’t be ignored.
Lavue scratched her neck, annoyed. "It seems I’ve gotten too courteous."
The air abruptly changed. The air had thickened as it enveloped Seo Jun-Ho and pressed down on him. "It seems that you’ve gotten the wrong idea here just because I gave you a proposal.
“It’s a proposal that you are not allowed to reject. Reject it, and you’ll die today.”
Seo Jun-Ho’s opponent wasn’t just a demon but the ruler of the Underworld’s eastern region. He had never once thought that he could decline her proposal and walk away unscathed.
"So what?" Seo Jun-Ho jutted his chin defiantly. "I think you’ve gotten the wrong idea here as well, so let me make it clear."
His bones contorted as he returned to his original appearance.
"I’ve resolved to fight the entire East the moment I stepped into this city."
"..." Lavue's eyes widened in shock. Then, she started laughing. "Pfft! What an insane bastard! Really? You’re planning on fighting the entire East? What do you think of yourself? A Transcendent?"
"Gorgon reacted the same way as you."
"Ha, that's just like him." Lavue shook her head with an amused smile. Her expression was reminiscent of a scientist who couldn’t find answers no matter how much they pondered. "You’re a mere insect, but you’ve climbed up so high that I thought I could communicate with you, but in the end, an insect is still an insect."
Lavue leaned against the bench; she looked as if she had lost all interest.
"What a waste of time. Kill him."
Seo Jun-Ho's gaze swept the surroundings.
Demons revealed themselves one by one and stepped into the courtyard.
"Arch, Arch, High, Arch, High..."
Each one of them was undoubtedly an influential figure and an elite of the East.
There were quite a few of them as well.
It was a suffocating number.
He would find it agonizing to face them by himself.
Lavue chuckled and asked, "How about it? I’ll let you go if you accept my proposal and head West this instant."
Seo Jun-Ho slowly raised his hand as he observed the hostile expressions of the demons around him. He casually took off the ring on his middle finger while saying, “Once fate grows in size as it rolls, like a snowball.”
"The funny thing is, the consequences of your demons' actions and fates have grown bigger than the snowball I mentioned."
"What bullshit are you spouting?"
Lavue furrowed her brows. She couldn't comprehend the insect’s words.
However, Seo Jun-Ho continued without hesitation. "I realized something the moment I cleared the 7th Floor.”
He realized that the 7th Floor was needlessly difficult, as he couldn’t communicate with the lower Floors. He couldn’t convey the need for reinforcements and supplies, so they had truly struggled on the 7th Floor.
"I thought that the 9th Floor—the Underworld—would be even more challenging than the 7th Floor."
And he was right…
The Vita that Yeon had modified couldn’t even function here, and it was most likely due to the dense demonic energy around the planet.
"So I thought about it from a different angle. You can call it a change of perspective."
Rather than trying to communicate with the outside world to no avail, what if he destroyed the jammer?
"I can't listen to your nonsense anymore... Hey, you bastards! How long do you expect me to endure this insect’s bullshit?"
With Lavue's urging, the demons slowly closed in on Seo Jun-Ho.
He looked at the enemies closing in on him and smiled. "Clone."
The ring on his middle finger was finally removed as he muttered, "Recall."
The prime minister of a certain nation let out a deep sigh.
He covered his embarrassed face with his folding fan.
- Your Little Highness, are you not getting ready?"
"Huh? Ready for what?" asked Seo Jun-Sik. He was lying on a spacious jade bed and was munching on a snack while reading a comic book.
- Your Little Highness, it is unknown when His Majesty will summon you, so it is better for you not to be in such a vulnerable state."
"Yeon. I know it looks like that in your eyes, but I’m not in a vulnerable state at all."
- In my eyes, your posture reeks of indifference.
"Ugh, shut up."
Seo Jun-Sik thumped on his belly and retorted, "Besides, the important thing is when the Original needs help. All I can do is wait for his call."
- True, but... Will you be able to fight if you’re dragged away while lying down, eating snacks, and reading comics?"
"Oh? Are you underestimating me?"
- Very much so.
"Don't you have quite a bit of trust in the Original?"
- Well, Your Majesty is the type of person who can achieve things…
"So, why not just trust me, too, then? After all, I'm about 95% of Original."
Yeon had many words to use to retort, but he didn't want to bother.
“Ah!” Seo Jun-Sik suddenly exclaimed.
His expression changed upon seeing his finger fading into light particles.
Seo Jun-Sik’s voice was so cold that Yeon couldn’t believe that such coldness had come from the nonchalant Seo Jun-Sik just a few moments ago.
"Get ready. Original has summoned me."
- That means…
"Yeah." Most of Seo Jun-Sik's body had disappeared, leaving only his head, but he still managed to smirk at Yeon. "It's war."
The demons paused and exchanged glances. However, nothing happened, so their faces flushed red in fury.
"You... What was that nonsense?!"
"He’s buying time."
After letting their words flow in one ear and out the other, Seo Jun-Ho said, "Summon."
A man identical to him appeared next to him.
The man looked around and mumbled, "Wow, the atmosphere’s pretty scary here."
"...Were you snacking on chocolate cookies by any chance?"
"Ahem. Now is not the time to nitpick on such trivial things."
Seo Jun-Sik hastily changed the subject and took out White Dragon from his Inventory.
The demons watching burst into laughter at the sight.
"Hahaha! It's just a clone?"
"And it’s just one clone... I guess our expectations were too high."
Despite the mockery and laughter pouring from all sides, the two remained unperturbed.
Lavue's eyebrows twitched slightly. 'What's going on?'
Her side clearly held the numbers advantage.
The combined power of their side had to be stronger than those two, especially if she were to participate in the fight as well. In addition, the clone wasn’t even a Star Destruction Stage creature, so what was going on?
Why were they so calm?
‘Do they have... more reinforcements?’
Seo Jun-Ho's voice shook the courtyard once more.
"I call upon the Knights of the Snowfields whom demons had robbed off of everything and had not been able to rest in peace…”
Four hundred soul stones flowed out from Seo Jun-Ho’s Inventory and hummed in resonance with his magic. The soul stones quivered as if they had been waiting for this moment.
"It is time for you to wield your cold swords and seize revenge."
Seo Jun-Ho clenched his fist.
Ice abruptly enveloped the soul stones, and four hundred Frost Knights were born.
"What, what are those?!"
“Damn it, call for reinforcements!”
"If you're nobles, act like nobles and don't waver. We have the numbers advantage—"
The head of a demon abruptly exploded, but the attack hadn’t come from Seo Jun-Ho.
It had come from the sky.
"Are those enemy reinforcements?"
The demons’ eyes were unwittingly transfixed on the meteor shower.
"..." Lavue was staring intently at what had made the demon’s head explode.
‘I’m sure I’ve seen that before… but where?'
A sword had struck the demon, and it was an exquisite-looking sword with a hilt featuring a thick, engraved dragon. It made everyone looking at it feel inexplicably calm
The sword quivered and flew toward Seo Jun-Ho's hand.
"Once darkness has pervaded the skies, the emperor will draw his sword and pierce the sky covered in darkness."
It was a sword capable of piercing the skies—it was the Sky's Will.
"Heed the Emperor’s command..."
Seo Jun-Ho grasped the Sky’s Will and swept his gaze across the demons.
The meteors finally struck the ground, but they weren’t rocks. They were capsules made out of metal, and beings covered in steel walked out of them one by one.
"Frost Knights and the Jinyiwei…"
The Jinyiwei were the emperor's sword and shadow.
They were legendary people whom people thought had fallen along with Neo City, but the people were mistaken. The Jinyiwei had simply taken refuge outside the planet, and they had been waiting for the true emperor of Neo City
‘Thank you, Yeon.’
This was Yeon’s inheritance. The previous emperor of Neo City had ensured that the core power of Neo City wouldn’t fall into the hands of villains like Namgung Jincheon.
[Master of the Four Seasons has been activated.]
[All stats of subordinate knights are increased by 30%. Magic consumption has been refunded.]
The Frost Knights and the Jinyiwei were reliable allies who would follow him on his way to purge all evil.
The heroes of the past, who had willingly sealed their souls into mechanical bodies for the emperor’s sake, wielded their weapons once more. Cheon-Gwang stood at the helm of the Jinyiwei.
Seo Jun-Ho glanced at him and smiled before saying, “Wipe them out."
[For His Majesty the Emperor!]
[For Her Highness the Queen!]
The four hundred Frost Knights and a hundred Jinyiwei Guards roared and charged at the enemies.