SOLO LEVELING NOVEL, CHAPTER 242
I ALONE LEVEL-UP CHAPTER 242
As it was being shoved away by the enormous impact force coming from the side, the Dragon Emperor saw it.
It clearly saw a gigantic shadow tall enough to touch the skies standing there proudly. And perhaps trying to reject an existence that shouldn’t even exist in the first place, thousands, no, tens of thousands of black lightning bolts could also be seen violently roiling and crackling beyond the shoulders of this black shadow.
‘….Spiritual Body Manifestation?’
No, that couldn’t be right.
The Shadow Sovereign used to be one of the Fragments of Brilliant Light. He didn’t have any other ‘hidden’ form to activate, and how he appeared was how he looked.
However, how could the current Shadow Sovereign assume such a massive form right this moment?
The Dragon Emperor pushed down hard with its legs, causing a thin layer from the ground to peel off like the skin of an apple, as its gigantic body came to a stop.
‘Could it be….?’
When a certain theory brushed through its head, the eyes of the Dragon quaked in sheer surprise.
‘The b*stard…. Could he be summoning the power of death to the surface world?’
But, how could that be?
How could a man who used to be a normal human not too long ago control the power of death to such an astonishing degree?
[So, that’s how it was.]
Another sigh of admiration left the mouth of the Dragon Emperor.
[You have spent a lot of time on the border between life and death, haven’t you?]
There was a reason why the previous Shadow Sovereign, Osborne, chose to hand all of his power over to a measly little human being. This particular human had been continuously fighting a bitter battle against himself right up until he inherited this power.
All for the sake of his life.
The Dragon Emperor had been looking down on the current Shadow Sovereign just a tad in comparison to his predecessor but now, he felt renewed respect for its human opponent.
And then, it reflected on itself for even thinking of manipulating the weakness of humans to pit him against the Rulers earlier.
‘Without a doubt…. This human must die. As expected, he’s far too dangerous.’
While the Dragon silently glared at its opponent, the giant Shadow Sovereign was also doing the same thing in silence.
Having become this gigantic Shadow Sovereign, Jin-Woo shifted his surprised gaze lower to his hands that had also grown into a size easily exceeding his own imagination.
‘This…. Is this really me?’
He tried to move his fingers. The ginormous body that had become the darkness itself began moving according to his will. It wasn’t just his body that had grown huge, though.
From deep within his gigantic frame, the kind of dizzying power that defied all attempts to estimate how big it was gushed out infinitely. He had truly become a mountain in order to bring down another mountain.
Jin-Woo raised his head back up again. And there it was – the personification of Destruction rushing towards him.
Violent flames and black lightning bolts scattered in all directions.
Jin-Woo propped his body with his legs extended to his rear and stopped the charge of the Dragon Emperor.
Their physical strength was about evenly matched!
An even contest of strength briefly played out before the Dragon suddenly bit Jin-Woo on his shoulder. Crimson-red flames danced around the bitten part. Jin-Woo didn’t panic, though, and proceeded to grab and yank at the Dragon’s horn to pull the creature’s head away.
And then, one more punch to its face-!
This time, though, the Dragon Emperor wasn’t pushed back.
Almost as soon as it was shoved back, the Dragon pounced towards him again, before opening its huge maw wide to take a big bite of Jin-Woo’s side.
For the first time since he began fighting against the Dragon Emperor, Jin-Woo couldn’t hold back and spat out a pained cry.
Boom! Boom!! Boom!!!
He used his elbow to smack down on the Dragon’s head several times, but the creature still lifted him up in the air and began shaking him around without mercy.
An incredible pain akin to his waist being snapped in half rushed up from below.
Deciding that enough damage had been inflicted on its enemy, the Dragon Emperor threw Jin-Woo to the ground.
That was followed by another round of Breath of Destruction pouncing on him. When the conflagration-like Breath swept by, one of Jin-Woo’s arms had vanished.
However, he didn’t scream in pain. He just gritted his teeth. He instantly closed the distance and shoved his remaining hand deep into the Dragon Emperor’s jaw.
Along with the thick leather being torn apart, the Dragon Emperor’s huge tongue was ripped out of his throat.
Rather than blood, crimson lava exploded out from the torn wound of the creature’s tongue.
The Dragon writhed in pure agony. Jin-Woo took this opportunity to punch the head of the creature. The lengthy maw was spun to the side as lava spilt in all directions.
The Dragon Emperor glared at Jin-Woo with its vertical-slit eyes and rammed into him with its horns.
The battle’s flow see-sawed between the two over and over again.
Whenever the two collided, the ground quaked and the heavens screamed. Every plot of land being showered by the falling flames was scorched black; every square inch being struck by the black lightning bolts was ripped apart without mercy.
A desperate battle ensued.
From the sideline, Fangs witnessed the battle between two Sovereigns with dazed eyes.
At this grandiose yet frightening spectacle unfolding right before his eyes, the High Orc Shaman was left completely flabbergasted, unable to turn his head away nor close shut his slack jaw.
….The Absolute Being created these beings in order to witness a fight of this magnitude? If that was the case, the High Orc Shadow Soldier thought that he might sort of understand the reasoning behind that decision.
Indeed, the battle between these two was no doubt a world-ending calamity but, at the same time, it was a spectacular once-in-a-lifetime event as well.
Tears slowly fell from the eyes of Fangs as he continued to take in the sight of two god-like beings colliding with everything they had.
The power of Destruction and the power of Death smashed into each other, writhed around, and shook the world to its very core.
Jin-Woo clenched his fist even harder.
It was working.
It’s working, it’s working, it’s definitely working!!
Each of his punches, issuing shock waves that tore apart the air every time he threw one, landed on their targets with scary accuracy.
Boom!! Bang!! Thud!! Kwahng!!
The Dragon Emperor struck out with its sharp claws, brushing past him and hitting the empty air.
Jin-Woo took a step back to evade the attack before pushing forward on his tiptoes to slam his shoulder against the Dragon and shoved it to the ground.
He then quickly mounted the toppled Dragon Emperor. What followed next was the continuous stream of vicious punches.
BOOM!! BOOM!! BOOM!! BOOM!!
Brutal attacks rained down from above, without a single break in-between.
BOOM!! BOOM!! BOOM!! BOOM!!!
Lightning bolts, sparks of flames, and the screams of air being torn endlessly reverberated throughout the land.
Unfortunately, it was clear to see that just one hand was not enough to land that one fatal blow.
He concentrated all of his Mana to the remaining hand, but as if he was stuck inside a dream, his strength continued to seep out of him the longer he continued on.
‘What’s going on?’
Jin-Woo’s expression hardened gradually.
Not too long afterwards, the Dragon Emperor also noticed the change taking place in Jin-Woo. Its clawed hand shot up to grab his fist.
It happened too suddenly. Jin-Woo got flustered as he couldn’t pull his fist back. Meanwhile, the Dragon Emperor addressed him.
[This is the difference between our experience level!]
Jin-Woo’s eyes widened considerably.
The Dragon pierced into Jin-Woo’s side with the claws on its remaining free hand and spat out its mocking words filled with laughter.
[Didn’t you know that maintaining a large body wastes an unimaginable amount of stamina?]
After completely immobilising Jin-Woo, another round of horrifying energy began gathering and swirling inside the Dragon’s maw. The Breath of Destruction was being readied to put an end to this battle.
‘This is the end….!’
The Dragon Emperor was sure of its victory now.
Just before the Breath was ready to fire, a new arm suddenly sprouted out from Jin-Woo’s shoulder missing a limb.
‘He still had that much energy left?!’
The Dragon was stunned but knew that it was still impossible for a different victor to emerge from this situation.
Soon, a blinding light formed inside the maw of the Dragon Emperor. It was then – Jin-Woo shoved his newly-generated arm inside that maw.
And then, he scrounged up every ounce of energy and concentrated it to his hand.
Accompanying an incredible impact force, powerful blinding light blanketed the surroundings.
Eventually, the light receded and silence descended on the land.
Jin-Woo reverted back to his human form from the giant shadow. He lay sprawled on the ground and panted heavily.
“Pant, pant, pant….”
His entire body was burning up as if flames had scorched him. He was covered in wounds from head to toe. His current status was an utter mess.
He did his absolute best to control his heavy breathing while sucking in a lot of air. A short while later, he forced his fatigued body to slowly stand back up.
Just beyond the veil of thick fog kicked up from the explosion, someone was making its approach towards him. Jin-Woo could only marvel wryly as the Dragon Emperor, in its human form, revealed itself.
‘What a monster….’
The Dragon b*stard was not okay either, but compared to Jin-Woo’s own condition, it was noticeably better off.
[You are a very tenacious b*stard, aren’t you?]
‘That’s my line.’
Too bad, Jin-Woo wanted to save the energy required to make that retort so he had to swallow back his opinion. Instead, he wordlessly summoned the pair of ‘Kamish’s Wraths’ and held them tightly.
The Dragon Emperor also unsheathed its sword as well.
Even though it no longer possessed enough strength to maintain its Spiritual Body Manifestation, the King of all Dragons still scrounged up every little bit of remaining energy in order to kill the human for good.
Jin-Woo, too, held his rough breathing back and gritted his teeth.
The Dragon Emperor arrived before him in just one step and swung its longsword at him. The pair of shortswords and one longsword clashed and clanged chaotically.
Every time sparks flew off from their clashing blades, sweat and blood sliding off their wielders’ bodies rained down on the surroundings.
It was then.
One of the Kamish’s Wrath shattered after its edges had been badly damaged from attacking the Dragon Emperor’s toughened steel-like scales earlier.
He managed to tilt his body in time to let the longsword cutting down diagonally brush past him, but that resulted in him losing balance for a brief moment.
The Dragon Emperor didn’t miss that opening. It thrust forward its weapon in the blink of an eye and penetrated Jin-Woo’s midriff.
Even in the midst of the torrent of terrible pain, he gritted his teeth and swung the shortsword held in his other hand towards the neck of the Dragon.
Too bad, just before his blade could reach the Adam’s apple belonging to the Dragon Emperor, the creature grabbed the weapon with its bare hand. The black aura wavering around the blade was blocked by the reddish-black aura of the Dragon.
A mocking grin floated up on the creature’s face.
[Did you truly believe that the shortsword fashioned out of a Dragon’s tooth can actually hurt this body of mine, the Dragon Emperor’s?]
After declaring confidently as so, it pushed the hilt of the longsword with even more power. The weapon sunk deeper into Jin-Woo’s midriff and he vomited out a mouthful of blood.
The Dragon Emperor pushed Jin-Woo off with its foot and pulled the longsword back.
Jin-Woo ungainly rolled along the ground and barely managed to stop himself. Just before he could force his body up, the Dragon Emperor arrived right in front of him and pointed the tip of its blade at his throat.
His actions came to an abrupt halt at the weapon that was uncomfortably close to his vital point. The Dragon Emperor chuckled as it addressed him.
[Don’t you find it funny?]
Not even once doubting that it’d end up as the victory, the Dragon in human form looked down at the face of its helplessly cornered enemy.
[A battle between the flame born from the darkness and the darkness born from the light. However, this battle is finally drawing to its conclusion.]
Jin-Woo readily agreed with the Dragon Emperor’s assessment.
“You’re right. Its conclusion is around the corner.”
The Dragon formed a half-puzzled and half-satisfied expression and scanned Jin-Woo’s grievously-wounded body, before asking him a question.
[Have you decided to give up on the meaningless resistance now?]
It was then.
He seemed energyless and defeated, pretty much ready to give up, but in an instant, the light gleaming within Jin-Woo’s eyes changed.
The Dragon Emperor urgently thrust the blade forward. To its great surprise, however, Jin-Woo unexpectedly pushed himself forward instead of dodging backwards.
The longsword brushed past his artery with barely a hair’s width. The skin on his neck sliced off and blood spluttered out like a fountain, but it wasn’t a fatal wound.
‘I can do this.’
By paying the price of a grievous wound, Jin-Woo got near the Dragon Emperor’s vicinity. He then summoned his father’s shortsword stored in his ‘Inventory’.
The Dragon’s eyes widened.
Even before the creature could decipher this new turn of events, Jin-Woo’s shortsword stabbed deeply into his enemy’s chest.
The blade penetrated past the chest armour and stabbed the Dragon’s heart.
Not over yet!
Jin-Woo knew all too well that this much of an attack wasn’t enough to kill a Sovereign. Even he himself was continuously fighting on with the types of injuries that would have killed any normal human being, after all.
Jin-Woo yanked the shortsword out and activated the skill ‘Violent Slash’.
Countless attacks stabbed deeply into the Dragon Emperor’s body.
One more time!!
[You… you b*stard….!!]
Shockingly enough, even though it was being subjected under the barrage of countless attacks, the Dragon Emperor still raised its sword up.
An earthquake erupted within Jin-Woo’s eyes after seeing that.
The Dragon, inflicted with heavy injuries on its chest where various holes could be seen, began deflecting Jin-Woo’s shortsword. The longer his skill was deployed, the faster the Dragon Emperor’s speed became, as well.
This was the display of the might possessed by the strongest creature borne out of darkness for the sole purpose of destruction. Cold sweat drops formed on Jin-Woo’s forehead as he was gradually pushed back in the one area he felt most confident in – his speed.
The Dragon Emperor spat out a beastly howl and shoved Jin-Woo away. The force was so strong that he thought his wrist broke just now.
By the time Jin-Woo regained his balance, the Dragon was already right before his eyes. Unlike before, though, the creature didn’t repeat the same mistake of staying its sword.
The weapon penetrated past his Black Heart.
Jin-Woo felt the burning pain shooting up from his chest. His breathing tightened and he couldn’t even voice his pain anymore. All strength abandoned his legs and automatically, he knelt down on the ground.
As if its anger hadn’t been cooled down, the Dragon Emperor viciously roared out towards the sky.
It transformed into a Dragonewt-like form that was halfway between a human and a Dragon’s appearance before anyone noticed it, and extended its claws out in order to attack for one last time.
A growling-like voice leaked out of the Dragon’s mouth.
[You b*stard, I shall rip you apart piece by piece and feed you to my Sky Dragons!]
If trying to show courtesy and give the Shadow Sovereign a death fitting for a king was a mistake on its part, then the Dragon Emperor would bestow a cruel and miserable death that would make up for that mistake many times over.
‘I shall show you what happens to the one daring to obstruct me, the King of all Dragons, at the end!’
The Dragon Emperor raged on with such thoughts filling up its head. It bared its lengthy fangs and continued to roar on. But then…
….Out of the blue, a loud chorus of vigorous warcry exploded forth from the heavens.
The Dragon Emperor raised his head. It was greeted by an unbelievable spectacle just then.
The army of the Rulers, the soldiers of the heavens were endlessly pouring out from a gigantic Gate that wasn’t there before. Their flapping wings began filling up the gloomy, clouded sky with the colours of whitish silver.
The Dragon Emperor inwardly freaked out.
Without a doubt, there was no Gate when it arrived here. So, just from where did that Gate come from, and how could the soldiers of heaven enter this world so quickly?
One would need an incalculable amount of energy to open up a portal connecting this world to the other side. So how….
When its thoughts reached that far, the Dragon Emperor looked down with its trembling eyes at Jin-Woo on the ground, currently panting heavily on his knees.
[You b*stard…. The reason why you attacked me with everything you had from the beginning was to….?!]
It wasn’t the difference in experience levels, but he had been working towards this end result from the very beginning? To call the allies from the other side by tearing the space up with the collision of two great sources of power?
Up until now, the Dragon Emperor had been guessing what Jin-Woo’s scheme might be through its own world view. The reason for attracting the attention of the army of the Chaos World, the reason for bringing it to this desolate location…
The Dragon took that as the human not wanting their battle to be interrupted by outside factors. But as it turned out, the Shadow Sovereign had a different goal altogether.
[Even then…. You couldn’t have any other way to communicate with the Rulers….?]
The Dragon Emperor couldn’t finish its sentence.
There was a way – the vessels of the Rulers.
Weren’t there still a few vessels, connected to the Rulers through the lending of their powers, left on this planet? And that was how the Fragments of Brilliant Light were able to prepare a Gate in this location.
The Dragon Emperor glared at Jin-Woo.
Just for that one-in-ten-thousand chance, he had chosen the method where even if he lost the fight, he’d still win the war before starting this battle.
It was a complete defeat for the Dragon, who only focused on the fight in front of its eyes and nothing else.
Jin-Woo, barely managing to hold back the dizzying pain from all of his wounds, formed an energyless smile.
“It was you, wasn’t it?”
“It was you who told the Sovereigns of White Flames and Beastly Fangs to ambush the Shadow Sovereign from behind.”
[….Did the Sovereign of White Flames run its mouth off?]
Rather than answering right away, Jin-Woo looked up at the sky filled with innumerable winged soldiers. He lowered his gaze back down to the Dragon Emperor a little later and formed a grin.
“Osborne wanted me to pass along this message.”
Jin-Woo slowly unfurled his middle finger. The Dragon Emperor exploded in pure rage just then.
The deadly-sharp claws rushed towards defenceless Jin-Woo kneeling down on the ground.
Too bad, those claws couldn’t reach him, instead getting blocked off by six beautiful wings gently embracing Jin-Woo’s figure.
The Dragon Emperor stopped its actions and withdrew its claws. It looked at the figure that blocked its attack and spat out a pained grunt.
[The most Brilliant Light….]
The Dragon raised its head next.
From above, six angels, each with three pairs of wings, slowly descended all around the creature.
Indeed, the conclusion of this battle had been around the corner. The Dragon Emperor recalled that brief conversation he shared with Jin-Woo, and began forming a self-mocking smile.
[….This is the end.]
Soon, the spears belonging to the Rulers penetrated the Dragon Emperor from all directions.
< Chapter 242 > Fin.