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CH 300

*** The Light Goes Out ***

Arthur’s strongest power was photonization, which he completed through his unique realization of the light attribute. Originally, his understanding and use of photonization were limited to endowing his internal energy with the properties of light, but once he transcended, he could turn mana into photons and convert his body into light.

After fully mastering this ability, Arthur’s comprehension and application of light went beyond the laws of physics. His attacks were so swift and powerful that no one could defend or evade them, as most talented people could [only] perceive sniper bullets that traveled at several times the speed of sound.

However, if the opponent was a transcendent, the situation was slightly different.

Ting!

The light Arthur emitted collided against Tan’s defensive barrier, causing the ability to scatter harmlessly in all directions. These were not simple beams of light but concentrated qi attacks in the form of strong qi; yet, even these attacks were easily rendered useless before Tan.

“I have to give it to you - the speed of your attacks is amazing. However, as long as the source is light-based, I can refract and scatter it.”

Strong qi was resistant to and could be imbued into any attribute; it was capable of being heated to several hundred million degrees or even frozen to the extreme, reaching a temperature of absolute zero. Furthermore, strong qi could be spread out like light or become as hard as metal.

Therefore, to fight an enemy who freely utilized strong qi, one must know how to resist all, or at least most, attribute types. Moreover, strong qi associated with no attribute could only be blocked with an equal amount of force.

However, in Arthur’s case, his strong qi was concentrated solely on the light attribute through photonization; in other words, it was limited to a single attribute, which made it easier to combat.

‘Damn it, the concentration of energy and qi is too weak.’

Arthur didn’t take the wrong path. Since he had focused his strong qi on the light attribute instead of a more diverse approach, while he lacked the advantages of such diversity, he also avoided the weaknesses. In the first place, other Grand Masters couldn’t emit their strong qi at the speed of light or turn their bodies into photons and, by extension, light. As a result, Arthur had a leg up in effectively utilizing his strong qi as a form of attack.

Above all, complete photonization freed his existence from most of the limitations living brought.

/Moving at the speed of light frees one from needing to eat or breathe!/

To put it one way, Arthur was capable of space travel. Since it only took him 1.3 seconds to travel to the moon, Arthur could freely use strong qi to enter the Astral World, allowing him to travel not only between star systems but also to other galaxies. Even throughout the entire universe, it would be difficult to find a being with a similar level of enlightenment in an attribute type and such a unique ability.

Ting!

His path was not wrong.

‘He’s strong.’

Alas, in the end, the problem was the difference in their capabilities.

Bam!

Arthur’s Bursting Sword Light, which had been causing nonstop, deafening explosions up to that point, dissipated. Despite having his level reduced by the Earth God’s Great Heavenly World authority, Tan’s fighting power was still beyond Arthur and Merlin’s imagination. Even if his abilities were suppressed, he was a monster among monsters who had lived for at least thousands of years.

Flash!

Another one of Arthur’s beams of light crossed through the air, and it seemed to split the world in two, but Tan effortlessly moved through space and dodged.

“Take this!”

Arthur sent another beam of light at Tan. Arthur was now spewing out attack after attack. It didn’t seem like he was swinging a sword, but instead, firing a semi-automatic particle cannon!

“Insignificant being.”

However, as Tan gestured lightly with his hands, the beams of light bent toward the clouds and disappeared harmlessly. His attack had been refracted and deflected, but Arthur seemed unperturbed as he spoke up and asked once more.

“Are you not going to tell me why you had my mother killed?”

“Ha! I don’t understand why you’re blaming me for something that you humans did to yourselves. Do you have any evidence I was involved? If you want to place the blame on me, you must have some sort of evidence, right?”

Tan exhibited such a proud and confident attitude that any objective bystander would think he was free of guilt, but Arthur’s guess was correct. Even if it was a far-right Japanese figure who murdered his mother, Tan was the one who set the stage for her eventual death.

Yet, Tan wasn’t worried. This was because he was convinced that no one would discover the truth of his involvement. Even if someone found out, they couldn’t prove it because Tan did not directly intervene. He had only manipulated some easily-influenced people from behind the scenes with a small portion of the resources he had accumulated from operating DIO.

As a dragon, Tan had lived a long time, a period that was hard to fathom for nearly all living beings. So, his level of cunning and position within the dragon species was incomprehensibly high, commensurate with his old age.

He had dealt with all types of issues and situations perfectly and thoroughly, except those that couldn’t be hidden. Hence, even for a [minor] thing, like murdering Arthur’s mother, he took all the necessary steps to hide his association.

Even if the Union’s Inspection Affairs Department, renowned throughout the universe, were mobilized, regardless of their investigative abilities, they wouldn’t be able to catch even a whiff of Tan’s involvement. That was how perfectly he had conducted and executed his plan. He had left no traces that could be found by a physical or psychic inspection.

“Evidence? You’re asking for evidence?”

However…

“Hahaha! Do you see me as some sort of prosecutor? Do I look like a judge to you?”

Arthur snarled while holding Excalibur, which was emitting a bright light.

“All I need is an assurance, a personal certainty. And right now….”

Arthur glared at Tan before finishing his sentence.

“I am absolutely certain.”

“…”

Arthur’s tone was so firm and final that Tan remained silent for a moment. Tan realized that no matter what he said, nothing would change. He wouldn’t be able to convince Arthur.

After all, Arthur was an individual.

If Arthur felt so sure and based his judgment on his unique intuition as an Irregular, which was close to being a psychic power, excuses would be meaningless to him. Even if Arthur didn’t possess tangible evidence or a foolproof argument to prove his point, he was an individual who could think for himself and decide what he wanted to believe. In other words, Arthur would choose to act based on his own convictions.

“This…”

Since this was the case, Tan had no reason to cling to his useless efforts of hiding his involvement and convincing Arthur.

“Things have become quite convoluted.”

Tan thought his plan was perfect and airtight, and it truly was impeccable.

He had smoothly removed Jenica, the Empress of Magic who had the highest authority in DIO, and successfully obtained DIO’s operating authorization. This system could mass-produce transcendents, and thus, it represented a massive value on a universal scale.

If Dynamic Island Online (DIO) could send users anywhere in the universe through its mission system, DIO would be the goose that laid golden eggs. DIO would continuously generate tremendous wealth for the Noblesse and influence the universe in ways that even the Noblesse couldn’t have fathomed or done themselves.

At the present moment, the navel was bigger than the belly - more resources had been invested into DIO than what was currently being outputted. Yet, in the next 100 or 1,000 years, the system would produce countless transcendents. This outlook was what made many salivate and grow wary of DIO. Perhaps Tan was planning to regain his former glory and stature through DIO and its bright future.

“Ever since a specific moment, nothing seemed to go according to plan. Who was it… who was stopping me at every turn? Was it the Elohim?”

Tan’s plan began to go awry little by little in the most inconsequential places, and now, it had reached the point of total collapse. Most importantly, he faced the incomprehensible situation of having DIO stolen right under his nose by a single user. The operational rights and authorization of DIO were supposed to be completely contained, controlled, and impenetrable.

‘Moreover… that guy isn’t even a transcendent being.’

Even as he watched Arthur, Tan focused on Merlin, who was standing off to one side. If Merlin were a transcendent and had reached the level of a Great Mage, Tan would have expected Merlin to make a move by now. Since the situation was clear, Merlin should have acted immediately and attacked him.

Unexpectedly for Tan, Merlin wasn’t a transcendent. Merlin was still a lowly being who had yet to realize the truth of the world.

‘Strange.’

And this realization made Tan more nervous. It was because he judged that it should have been impossible for Merlin to defeat the red dragon Igniz, especially since Igniz possessed a Transcendent Weapon, Muspelheim.

No matter how much wisdom and experience Tan had, there was no way that he could have anticipated Merlin’s Irrational Hand Strike. Who in the world could imagine a non-transcendent delivering a blow with 6,400 years of concentrated internal energy?

Due to this, Tan had the following thought.

‘There must be a third party involved. That third party is manipulating everything from behind the scenes, but who the hell are they?’

Of course, this was Tan’s misunderstanding. However, because he thought in this manner, he couldn’t readily release his full power. He felt that someone was waiting for a gap in his defenses to land a critical shot.

In fact, this was the reason why the battle between him and Arthur dragged on for so long. Though he was weaker from the Earth God’s penalty, pseudo-transcendents still couldn’t stand against him.

However, he couldn’t wait any longer.

“It was a rather elaborate, elegant, and foolproof plan… but it’s all been for naught.”

Tan’s sincere mood towards Arthur changed rapidly, and at the same time, a powerful aura of spiritual pressure started spreading around him. Tan’s face, previously calm and relaxed, cooled to a terrifying level, and it was paired with a fitting murderous spirit and intent that exuded outward, causing one’s skin to tingle.

“As expected, you were the one who killed my mother.”

“Since you’re already convinced, what’s the point of double-checking?”

Tan sarcastically spoke as he rose into the air. Arthur immediately converted into light and tried to hinder Tan’s flight, but at that moment, a transparent ice crystal appeared and struck him.

“Ugh!”

As if hit by a hammer, Arthur’s body slammed into the ground. His body, which he had photonized into light, had returned to its original physical state. From the sky, Tan spoke with a surprised expression.

“That should have pierced straight through you, but you converted the damage so that it hit a larger surface area rather than a single point. You handle the transformation of your attribute quite freely. However, it looks like you only have two options.”

Phew.

Arthur took a breath without answering. His shattered body transformed into a bright light for a moment before returning to its physical form. When this occurred, there was no trace of his injuries. His regeneration was close to what one would expect of an immortal. It seemed that Arthur couldn’t be killed unless he was defeated in one blow or if all of his spiritual energy was consumed.

‘Even though I’ve gained this much power….’

Arthur gritted his teeth. He had attained a divine position, divine status, and divinity, and he had forcefully risen to the level of a transcendent. He had obtained enough power to be called a god. In fact, in the wider universe, beings who had just entered the transcendent realm were defined as lower-class gods. These gods were what was often referred to when denoting transcendents.

However, Tan was more than that.

Although he was forced down to a lower-leveled transcendent, equivalent to Arthur’s current level, there was still a difference between him and Arthur. Although it wasn’t an overwhelming quality, Tan had lived longer and experienced many more things, so Arthur’s relatively short life on Earth was incomparable to Tan’s. Tan had only extended the stalemate with Arthur because he was being careful, not because he couldn’t quickly overwhelm the user. From the start, the odds of Arthur winning were close to nil.

/I am the one who will trample you and make you cry./

“He’s started in earnest.”

And then, a booming echo rang out from the sky. Finally, Tan began to cast his ultimate magic spells, which he hadn’t used up to now.

The method he used was Word Command. Without having to calculate complicated formulas or redistribute and deploy mana, just by expressing his will, Tan’s words carried power. It was a unique ability of the dragon species, often called Draconic Language, but the power he emitted now was at a level few dragons would even dare to dream of wielding.

Creak!

Strong qi in the form of a beam of light directly hit Tan, but it bounced off harmlessly alongside a noise like glass being scratched. Then, Arthur decided to soar into the air, but the energy field stretching hundred of meters out from Tan blocked him.

“Ha!”

Instead of being discouraged, Arthur took out a new sword and swung it.

Whoosh!

With the sound of tearing fabric, a silver sword adorned with transparent jewels pierced the energy field and fell toward Tan’s head. It was Arthur’s dragon-killing sword, Ascalon, an SS Class magic item made specifically to kill dragons!

“Hmph!”

Tan snorted lightly and outstretched his hand, activating a magic spell that created a spiritual qi shield around him. He displayed such a smooth use of magic and a high level of control that it seemed impossible.

Bam!

However, at that moment, Tan’s divine figure momentarily staggered after a sniper rifle’s bullet hit him.

Find the original at bit.ly/3iBfjkV.

Whoosh!

Using this opening, Ascalon brushed past Tan’s shoulder. Thus, the chant for Tan’s ultimate spell was interrupted and broken.

Rather than being happy, though, Arthur gritted his teeth.

‘It was too shallow! Just a flesh wound!’

Arthur sighed in pity, but Tan’s anger seemed to have been stoked. As he faced a situation where his intentions and actions had been interrupted, his calm eyes started to shine blue with fury.

/How dare you./

Since Tan was already in a state of perfect combat readiness, even a single growling word made everyone’s heart tighten. Having opened a gap for Arthur, Cruze felt cold sweat running down her back.

“Oh, his eyes are so scary.”

“Don’t let up. Shoot another bullet.”

Lancelot held a black spear before him as he stood in front of Cruze and raised his aura and momentum. While he specialized in attack rather than defense, it was impossible for him to approach Tan, so he decided to focus on protecting Cruze instead.

And at that moment, as Cruze tried gathering enough power for another attack, a shining blue crystal appeared and hovered above their heads. The destructive magic contained in it was enough to make the viewer instantly feel sick.

“Focus!”

“Can you really afford to say such a thing at a time like this?”

After completing his spell, Tan turned his attention towards Arthur without looking back at Cruze and Lancelot. He was certain that Cruze and Lancelot would surely die from his spell.

“Hmph!”

Just then, Lancelot’s arms became a blur. Soon, the space in front of him grew distorted and swallowed the shining blue crystal.

Poof!

Accompanied by the sound similar to a balloon bursting, the shining blue crystal disappeared without a trace.

“… What?”

Tan’s eyebrows twitched. This wasn’t solely because a user he’d previously disregarded had blocked his attack; it was because, for a moment, he ‘didn’t know’ what Lancelot had [done].

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