SoJ Episode 9 Chapter 151

Episode 9: Shackles of Judgment / Chapter 151: Collapse (3)

TL: emptycube / ED: Isalee


 

Crackle.

When walking on the glass desert of the Blue Ocean Planet, one could hear crackling sounds reminiscent of radio static.

Tap, tap.

This was the sound of glass crabs spending their entire day looking for prettier glass pebbles.

No matter how long one walked, one would see a yellowish green sky, blue glass sand on the ground blowing in the wind, and the sculptures created by the white glass crabs. It was a beautiful and peaceful planet.

However, the Blue Ocean Planet wasn’t peaceful today.

Kwa, kwa, kwa!

One-and-a-half-meter-long, eel-like monsters used their bladed legs to shoot forward like a spring as they drew lines in the glass desert. They were monsters known as ‘bladed loaches’.

Crack! Crack!

Facing the bladed loaches that were approaching like a waterfall, the glass crabs piled glass stones to create geometric shapes.

Blitz!

As soon as the monsters came within range, the shapes drawn on the sand shot lightning out while emitting a bright light.

 

Zziii…

 

The blue sand was burnt black and melted together. However, there wasn’t a single bladed loach corpse in the area burnt black by the lightning storm.

“Wheeek! Whio!”

{{{Whio! Whio! Wheeek!}}}

When a long, clear whistle came from glass towers as tall as people, and the glass crabs behind it echoed the whistling sound. While each individual sound was quiet, as the sounds combined, they grew louder like an ensemble.

Tap, tap.

While the meaning behind the whistling sounds were unknown, the glass crabs, who had been watching the situation for a moment, began to move quickly. They moved the glass stones once more and prepared another defense measure.

However-

Pukuahak!

The bladed loaches that abruptly shot up from the ground shattered the glass shapes that the glass crabs had made. Their bladed legs folded into their bodies and, like actual loaches, they swam through the glass sand and trampled over the glass crabs.

The glass crabs were a colonial species. They weren’t strong individually and were only strong when they were together as a ‘city’. As there weren’t many lowest-ranked (3-star) cities in the first place, the glass crabs, which were Consumables, were unable to block the bladed loaches attacking them from underground at all.

Whooosh!!

Occasionally, a strong power would radiate from the glass towers, which were the glass crabs’ cities, and take down a bladed loach, but this was rare. Not long after, the bladed loaches smashed the glass tower where the queen resided and licked up the glass crabs inside it with their long tongues.

There wasn’t anything that could even be considered as the frontline. All glass towers on the Blue Ocean Planet were being attacked simultaneously.

The fate of the glass crabs, which had survived tenaciously even when experiencing hellish wars after being assigned as the alliance’s Consumables, was flickering precariously like a candle in the wind.

The alliance, which had constantly pulled them into their wars, didn’t seem like they would save them from this danger.

“Whioooo~ Whooeee…”

“Whio! Whooee. Whoo…”

The queens, whose roles were to act as the ‘brains’ of their respective colonies, emitted anguished whistles throughout the Blue Ocean Planet.

 

A shadow appeared in the yellowish green sky, which was filled with the glass crabs’ lament. It was Naro’s dimensional fortress.

“How did Armor-Phantom look?”

“He seemed angry? Very angry.”

Baek Seoin asked and Choi Hyuk replied. Baek Seoin’s eyes narrowed.

Through long experience, Choi Hyuk’s close aides knew that Choi Hyuk excelled at reading his opponents’ emotions.

Therefore, Baek Seoin couldn’t take Choi Hyuk’s words lightly. Baek Seoin let out a low grumble before saying,

“Armor-Phantom… Since we’ve gotten on the bad side of an influential figure like him, we have no choice but to obtain good results.”

When Baek Seoin gestured, Naro quickly displayed a hologram of the Blue Ocean Planet.

Blue dots were densely spread throughout the planet, and they could see smoldering black lines between them. The blue dots were glass towers. The black lines indicated the bladed loaches.

“However, the current situation is disadvantageous for us. Of course, our end goal is to destroy the Kahur Kabkun beyond the planet, but while passing through the planet, we need to save every glass crab we can. Commander-in-chief Armor-Phantom can stubbornly ask, ‘Why didn’t you prevent a lot of losses? Don’t you know that the more karmalings die, the stronger the monsters that can cross over are?’ However…”

When Baek Seoin paused, Naro followed up on his report.

{As you can see, the bladed loaches are spread throughout the planet. Large battles are impossible. Since it’s a dogfight, protecting the glass crabs will be difficult. The only action is to spread our warriors out to clean up the bladed loaches.}

“That’s right. The worst part is that you, the greatest force in the Berserkers, can only act in a localized area. While you would be able to sweep them all up if they were gathered together, since they are so scattered and entangled with glass crabs, you have no choice but to fight in close range.”

“Hmm…”

While Choi Hyuk pondered, Baek Seoin sighed before staring directly at Choi Hyuk and said,

“So… To be honest, since we can’t trust you, we came to get your pledge that you will hold back. You can’t go throwing flames around because you’re frustrated mid-battle. We need to protect the glass crabs.”

Choi Hyuk showed a dissatisfied expression when he heard Baek Seoin’s plea.

“But won’t it take too long?”

Baek Seoin shook his head.

“No, fight in moderation this time and trust us.”

‘Trust us.’

For some reason, it seemed those words weighed on his mind as Choi Hyuk paused. When he subtly nodded his head, Baek Seoin waved his hand. Naro reacted quickly.

{Berserkers, prepare to mobilize. Individual battles. Individual starting points, selection complete.}

Baek Seoin looked at Choi Hyuk, and Choi Hyuk made the final order.

“Our enemies are the bladed loaches. They are monsters at the 2-3-star level. Berserkers… Let’s run amuck to our hearts’ content!”

Whaaaah.

While no sound was actually heard, it seemed like they heard such a sound. Teleportation activated densely throughout the Blue Ocean Planet. There were so many that the Blue Ocean Planet looked like it was bending. Berserkers, Kundle Tribe members, and even the Sovereign of Opportunity Nasir’s followers leaped out from everywhere.

“Let’s kill them!”

Someone shouted loudly.

 

Even though his subordinates rushed out, like always, Choi Hyuk leisurely stepped down on the ground.

This composure came from the absolute confidence that he could deal with any existence that came at him.

Choi Hyuk’s style was to take leisurely steps and sweep through the monsters targeting him with one slash.

‘Since I’m fighting alone today, I should take it easy, but…’

Although he felt slightly regretful, that was it. He simply had to take a hundred short swings than one big one. To Choi Hyuk, this wasn’t difficult.

However…

Shwaaah.

The moment Choi Hyuk appeared, the bladed loaches in front of him all began to retreat simultaneously. It was to the point where one could see black waves rushing away to reveal a blue ground from Naro’s spaceship, which was orbiting the Blue Ocean Planet.

“… Just what is this?”

Choi Hyuk grumbled before he could even take his sword out from his sheath.

 

**

“…”

Choi Hyuk’s eyes were filled with annoyance as he swung his sword and jumped up and down.

“Whoa, whoa, hold it in, leader.”

Baek Seoin steadily stuck next to him. After glancing at Baek Seoin, Choi Hyuk swallowed his anger and, with a slightly calmer expression, chased down another bladed loach and cut it in half.

After being cut in two, the black bladed loach squirmed like a worm.

Raising his head after watching it for a moment, Choi Hyuk saw a swarm of bladed loaches retreating away from him like a tide. Choi Hyuk let out a sigh. If it was like this, it would be difficult to even take a hundred short swings.

“They really are like loaches. Haha.”

Baek Seoin read Choi Hyuk’s expression as he smiled, but Choi Hyuk shook his head. Although he guessed that it would be a frustrating battle after listening to Baek Seoin on Naro’s spaceship, it was beyond what he had expected. Choi Hyuk mumbled with a dejected voice,

“For monsters… to only run away.”

Monsters were a bunch that blindly revealed killing intent at karmalings. Yet, the bladed loaches were thoroughly avoiding opponents that were stronger than them. Especially when Choi Hyuk appeared, they would muster up all their strength to retreat off into the horizon. Of course, Choi Hyuk could catch up since he was faster, but hunting down monsters running in every direction was time-consuming and very bothersome.

“It is definitely odd. The bladed loaches are known to be monsters that use their agility and slick skin to collapse the frontlines and cause chaos in the rear… There has never been any reported cases where they simply run away like this.”

Baek Seoin bit his lips as he pondered.

“We can clearly see that they are thoroughly avoiding powerful opponents and trying their best to kill as many as they can… It’s like they are trying to meet a quota.”

The easiest opponents on the Blue Ocean Planet were the blue crabs. The bladed loaches only targeted them. This weighed on Baek Seoin’s mind.

“Why is it…? The glass crabs shouldn’t be a danger to the monsters…”

Flinch!

Baek Seoin, who had been mumbling to himself, suddenly became surprised.

When Choi Hyuk gave him a strange look, Baek Seoin shook his head.

“Ah, no. I thought I felt an ominous feeling for a second… I thought my Intuition had activated… But it looks like I was wrong. I don’t feel anything right now.”

Choi Hyuk tilted his head at Baek Seoin’s words, but he didn’t ask any further when Baek Seoin shook his head again.

“Really? But it looks like the glass crabs will suffer heavy losses like this.”

Although he said it as though it were inevitable, Choi Hyuk was slightly gloomy. While he was confident he could smash everything apart by himself, protecting someone was harder than he thought. Choi Hyuk especially didn’t have much he could do in this situation since they slipped away like loaches and only targeted weak glass crabs. With his temper, he wanted to burn everything, but there was no doubt that many allies would die if he erupted flames blindly. Choi Hyuk had never experienced such a frustrating fight since he awakened karma. While he didn’t show it, Choi Hyuk even felt a slight sense of shame.

Baek Seoin tapped Choi Hyuk’s shoulder.

“Don’t worry. Your subordinates aren’t weak.”

Choi Hyuk blankly stared at Baek Seoin before blinking a few times. Then he nodded his head and rushed out once again. Every bladed loach he killed would be helpful.

Following his path, the bladed loaches ran away to reveal a blue sand desert.

 

Baek Seoin looked on as Choi Hyuk got further and further away as he quietly wiped the back of his neck. He could feel goosebumps from the sudden dangerous feeling he had felt a moment ago.

“What the… Is there something going on…?”

He frowned, but there really wasn’t anything right now. ‘No, I’m probably mistaken.’ He shook his head and ran towards Choi Hyuk, who was already far off into the distance.

 

**

The Kundle Tribe members were innocent like newborn babies. Although they resented Choi Hyuk after the recruit training, this resentment didn’t reside in their hearts for long. Even if they resented him, they acknowledged that they had no choice but to fight monsters and didn’t shy away from war in order to become citizens of the alliance. They willingly fought alongside the Berserkers. Also, after fighting together, they felt a deep sense of comradery with the Berserkers. They were naïve like that and were as courageous as they were naïve.

“Block them!”

When a Berserker shouted, the Kundle Tribe members rushed towards the ‘bladed loaches’. The two-meter-long bladed loaches launched off the ground, folded their legs into their bodies, and penetrated past the Kundle Tribe members blocking them.

The Kundle Tribe members did whatever they could to block the bladed loaches, but their bodies were so round and slippery that they slipped past the Kundle Tribe members’ arms and hips. Even when they struck with weapons, the weapons slipped off them.

Slash!

The bladed loaches’ sleek scales sliced the Kundle Tribe members as they passed by.

“Aaack!”

“Dundun! My arm! Pass me my arm!”

“Ack! My body? Where is my body?”

As their recovery ability increased after becoming stronger, the Kundle Tribe members no longer died from getting cut in half by the monsters. They resisted the monster’s invading karma, calmly looked for and stuck their bodies back together, and activated their regeneration.

The bladed loaches left the Kundle Tribe members, who were recovering their bodies, behind and kicked off the ground once again to accelerate their dropped speed. They cunningly avoided the Berserkers and only charged towards the Kundle Tribe members and Nasir’s subordinates. Because of this, the Kundle Tribe members and Nasir’s clan members’ duty was to keep bladed loaches from escaping before the Berserkers got there.

“Weapon #3! Tie them down!”

The Sovereign of Opportunity Nasir’s subordinates acted once the Kundle Tribe members obstructed the bladed loaches to reduce their momentum.

As expected of Nasir’s subordinates who pursued ‘safe combat’ over victorious combat, they all used ranged weapons instead of melee ones. As soon as they swallowed a green marble, their mouths changed into a particular part of an insect.

Swwit!

Webbing shot out from their mouths and stuck onto the bladed loaches. The webbing momentarily restricted their movements.

Once the bladed loaches were slowed down by the Kundle Tribe members and Nasir’s clan members, the Berserkers caught up to them.

“Nice!”

Crush! Cruush!

Every attack from the Berserkers was so ferocious that they instantly crushed the bladed loaches that weren’t easily slashed with swords due to how slick and resilient they were.

“Wahahaha!”

“Kakakakaka!”

The Berserkers’ laugh erupted here and there.

“Whiik! Whiiii!”

“Whiik! Ppiii-!”

The glass crab queens’ whistle, which had trembled pitifully, gradually became more cheerful.

 

“…Did we win already?”

The situation with the bladed loaches, where they were at a loss considering they had to kill each one individually, was resolved faster than expected due to the cooperation of subordinate forces with the Berserkers in the lead. When considering the amount of time that had passed since they joined the battle, the glass crabs’ losses were minor.

The Berserkers were strong and competent.

“See.”

Looking at Baek Seoin boast, Choi Hyuk smiled.

“Good.”

Perhaps, for the first time, even though he didn’t play a major role in this battle, an unfamiliar sense of pride tickled his heart.

 

What awaited Choi Hyuk when he happily returned to Naro’s spaceship was the order issued by Armor-Phantom and Dark-Sound.

 

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