Themos lifted his free hand just as the yellow beam arrived. A rectangular translucent bronze wall appeared before the king. The yellow beam smashed into the wall but it was unable to penetrate.

"Don't forget. This is still my palace!" Themos said. He then pointed at the crystal above and uttered, "deactivate!"

The runic symbols that were flaring on the ceiling around the execution crystal grew dim before disappearing altogether. The crystal lost its power and the assaulting beam stopped.

"Hah! Just accept your fate!" Themos exclaimed and swung his large sword. Raging winds filled with white flame swept across the hall.

Jack cast Barrier and Magic Shield, but he was still swept by the wind. He was thrown to the ceiling before slamming back to the floor. Duke Alfredo was in a better situation. He cast Magic Wall, but it broke after being assaulted by the flaming wind a few times. He staggered backward while protecting himself with his magic shield.

"Haha, you two are not bad. To tell you the truth, my original power isn't this strong," Themos laughed. "The duke should know. I was originally a rare elite. It was due to my vampiric rebirth that my power increased by one grade. My master said that it was because of my royal bloodline. Hahaha! I never had the chance to go all out ever since turning. I will use you two to test my power!"

Many runic symbols appeared and revolved around Themos.

"It's a rune technique again! Don't let him finish it!" Peniel exclaimed.

"Another one? Didn't he just use it when he killed Mason?!" Jack uttered.

"Then he probably has two rune techniques!" Peniel replied.

"Damnit!" Jack used Wind Slash and fired Mana Beam, while Duke Alfredo cast a spell that conjured several magical hammers.

However, all those attacks were stopped by the translucent bronze wall that was still in front of Themos. The wall was called Bulwark of Royalty. It had a very high defense and also had its own HP. If its HP was not depleted, it could last for as long as three minutes.

Themos was grinning behind the translucent wall. His expression was clearly mocking the two's efforts.

"Don't underestimate us, you filicides freak!" Jack exclaimed and used his companion token.

Jack summoned Arlcard, Therras, Ice Demon Fiend, his spirit weapon, and his ten wolves.

"No summons!" Themos exclaimed. The rune diagrams around the hall flared. Therras, Ice Demon Fiend, the spirit weapon, and the ten wolves vanished. Only Arlcard remained.

"What?" Jack was startled when most of his summons were forcefully disbanded.

"It's the palace!" Peniel informed. "It has many defensive mechanisms that benefit the owner, in this case, the king. Arlcard was not unsummoned because he is a native of this world."

"What's this?" Arlcard asked. He was level 65 now. "A vampire?" He said when he noticed the opponent. He frowned deeply when he also noticed the opponent was a mythical grade with a level much higher than theirs.

"Drink this," Jack said and handed him the Ancient Blood Awakening Potion from his inventory. It was not the time to hold back.

Arlcard recognized the bottle. It was similar to the bottle he had drunk which gave him the power to beat Aubelard in the past. Jack had taken this potion as one of the rewards from Horatio Maxius when he gave the vampire prince the Book of the Damned.

Arlcard took the bottle without hesitation.

Themos saw Arlcard take the bottle. He also knew the potion. His eyes shone with golden light.

Jack recognized the move. He had seen Mihos use it before. It was Petrifying Gaze. Jack immediately put himself before Arlcard just as the eye skill was unleashed. Jack felt himself become stiff. A layer of stone appeared and covered his body.

A soft light fell on him. The stiffness and the layer of stone disappeared. Peniel used her Fast Heal to cancel the petrify status as well as heal the HP Jack lost from the earlier flaming winds.

With his petrifying gaze failing to fall on Arlcard, Themos could only watch since his rune technique didn't allow him to move away from his position.

Arlcard felt the similar heat that ravaged his body the first time he drank the potion. But this time, he was ready for it.

Jack cast Body Double. He then charged ahead with two copies. He left one copy behind.

The Bulwark of Royalty was rather durable, it had suffered many punishments but its HP was still around twenty percent. Jack could see more and more runic symbols formed by Themos behind that bronze wall.

"Be careful!" Peniel warned. "Rune technique had the potential to inflict one-hit kill even on a native. It was one of the abilities that delivered the highest damage."

Jack was aware of that. The full HP Mason had been killed with only one stab. This other rune technique the king was preparing should not be any less powerful.

Jack used Dragon Eye once he arrived in front of Themos. He also executed the third phase of his Formless Flowing Sword Style's burst attack. His ninety-six slashes battered the bronze wall with combo damages.

However, his eyes never left Themos' sword. From the number of runic symbols, he predicted that Themos almost completed his rune technique when he charged. Now, as he was before the bronze wall, he saw the runic symbols all enter the sword, signifying that the preparation phase was already completed.

"You think you can fool me by using clones?" Themos laughed. "Ever since I became a mythical grade, I have been able to sense mana. I know exactly which one is your real body!"

As Themos finished speaking, the bronze wall in front of him vanished, even when there was still a sliver of HP left. He no longer needed the protective wall once his rune technique was completed. His sword thrust forward at Jack's real body with a speed almost imperceptible to human eyes.

Luckily, Jack's eyes were at the moment equal to a dragon's eyes instead of a human's ones. Hence, he could catch the movement before the blade pierced his body. He immediately changed places with the copy he left behind near Arlcard.

Although he never saw Themos' second rune technique, he believed it was a melee single-target attack. The reason why he thought so was due to Alonzo's death condition. Alonzo died in a room where everything was still intact. Nothing was disturbed except for the broken vase used to lure him into the room.

From the lack of signs of struggle, Jack surmised Alonzo died without fighting back. Even though Alonzo was not high level or high grade, his HP was still large enough. To kill him in such a short time, a rune technique was most likely used. And since Alonzo's wound was only a single stab and his surrounding was undisturbed, the attack was not an AOE attack.

Peniel had informed Jack that rune techniques were extremely rare. No matter how powerful Themos was, Jack didn't believe Themos had three rune techniques. Hence, the one that Themos was using now had to be the one used to kill Alonzo. That's why Jack put himself forward as bait, to make Themos waste his move.

The blade that thrust Jack's copy emitted a purple energy that pierced forward. Jack could sense the mana in that attack. He would absolutely die if that attack hit him, even if he activated all his defensive abilities other than Peniel's invulnerability.

Themos was baffled when he sensed that Jack was still fine. The three Jacks in front of him were now just copies.

"Hah! Not bad, outworlder," Themos chuckled.

'He is not taking this seriously,' Jack thought worriedly.


Jack sensed an energy spike behind him. He turned back and saw Arlcard whose long hair was blown up by a torrent of energy. The energy dissipated and Arlcard was calm again. Arlcard gazed forward with pitch-black eyes. Jack felt a coldness from those eyes as if he was staring into a bottomless abyss.

Jack used his Inspect and found that Arlcard was a level 75 Mythical vampire now.

Arlcard suddenly vanished.

While Jack was still wondering what had happened, he heard sounds of impact from behind. He turned back and saw that Themos was swinging his sword, striking a black shadow that continuously zoomed around him at extremely high speed.

Jack knew that the black shadow was Arlcard. He couldn't see his companion's movements at all. However, Themos seemed to still be able to clash with the super-fast Arlcard just fine. The two of them were both mythical grades, but Themos was still three levels higher.

Jack didn't stay idle, he cast Time Domain. A sphere radiated out, covering the entire hall. With this Time Domain, Arlcard's speed increased while Themos' was slowed.

With the handicap, Themos was unable to block Arlcards' lightning-fast assaults. He now received damage every time Arlcard zoomed past him. The inflicted damage was high and it was never-ending. However, Themos was oddly laughing.

"Hahaha! Do you worse!" Themos laughed. At the same time, rune diagrams in the walls and ceilings nearby him flared to life. A thread of energy flowed into him and his HP healed rapidly.

"Oh no!" Peniel uttered. "It's the palace's defensive mechanism again. It was tied to the king's life force. We won't be able to defeat him as long as we are inside this palace!"

"Hahaha! This is my territory. Forget about defeating me!!" Themos continued to laugh.