99 times. It was the number of times Oswen was repeatedly knocked out and then forcefully awakened. The blacksmith ego had woken up several times but had fainted from confusion.
Fortunately, it didn’t go beyond 100 times. He finally started to show a little bit of stability.
“You...who are you?”
"I have already told you a few times. I am Randalph Brigsiel. I don’t like repeating myself so please remember this in the future.”
“My memories are a tangled mess. The memories of several people are mixed together. But I am the blacksmith Oswen.”
The southern commander and everyone else were fake personalities. Oswen’s true ident.i.ty was the blacksmith.
"Were you originally a doom knight?”
"Ah...come to think of it, my body has changed as well. Oh my G.o.d...the h.e.l.l Monarch. That cruel person has played with me for thousands of years. He was angry because I threw the Seven Sins into the crack.”
The crack. The dark spirits knew how to handle cracks in s.p.a.ce. They could pick up free goods from the crack. Then they sold the items.
Oswen turned his head.
"I remember that this is the world of the dead and Randalph is a hero in the south. But aren’t you still alive?”
"That's right. I am alive.”
“Amazing. Those swords are somehow familiar. Wrath and the Emperor's Sword! That cloak...Sloth. Apart from the Emperor’s Sword, they are all items that wandered through the crack. Where did you find them?”
It was a problem. Was it okay to let him know?
The Twilight Blacksmith Oswen. I expected a lot from him. I wanted Oswen to follow me.
If I hid the Heart of the h.e.l.l Monarch from him and he learnt about it later on, things could turn bad. It would be better to inform him now.
I explained how I obtained the Heart of the h.e.l.l Monarch and the Emperor’s Sword.
Oswen’s expression changed as he listened to the story.
"Ahh, something like that...”
“Do you believe it?”
"I can’t not believe it. Hah, then I guess the h.e.l.l Monarch has been destroyed. His heart belongs to Randalph...Maxium even mistook you as the h.e.l.l Monarch. Things are becoming interesting.”
He was still in a little bit of pain.
Oswen was happy since the h.e.l.l Monarch was his enemy.
“Oswen. This isn’t the time to have hazy memories.”
This was enough explanation.
I had spent too much time finding Oswen. Now we needed to move.
"I was also the southern commander. The battle might have been lost, but don’t worry. The real power of the south isn’t at the fortress.”
"The southern commander hid 2,000 phantom cavalry in a place that no one else knows. The phantom cavalry only responds to the h.e.l.l Monarch, but you should be able to wake them up if you have his heart. You will launch that strength and gather the remaining power of the south. Makdalli has lost one wing so victory is possible.”
It was somehow familiar.
'The phantom cavalry are troops that belong to the emperor.’
I read the description.
I didn’t know if 2,000 phantom cavalry could resolve this situation.
However, Oswen had a confident expression.
“Follow me. We will go to wake up the phantom cavalry.”
The weary Oswen rose from his spot.
It took three days and nights to arrive at the desired destination.
A huge mountain made of bones. It was a place where skeleton soldiers were buried.
"The southern commander created a secret place underground. The phantom cavalry are hidden there. Why?”
Oswen c.o.c.ked his head with confusion. I was laughing.
"Is this your job?”
"You don't understand. I hate the h.e.l.l Monarch. On the other hand, I wanted to be the h.e.l.l Monarch when I was the southern commander. I’ve been protecting this place for a long time on behalf of the owner.”
"There is a difference in your eyes.”
“Yes. Most commanders won’t be like me. This state has lasted so long...they won’t admit that the real h.e.l.l Monarch has appeared.”
Oswen’s words weren’t exaggerated. It was natural since he still had the memories of the southern commander.
'Was Maxium unusual?’
Maxium. He had noticed from a distance that my heart belonged to the h.e.l.l Monarch. He shook off everything on the battlefield and ran over.
On the other hand, the commanders would probably have different reactions. Emperor’s Knight. I came to the conclusion that Maxium was unusual because he was the closest to the emperor.
"Time is really unique. It can change everything. Even those with absolute loyalty will change over time. The false loyalty would be worn away. Even so, there is no change in this world. It is indeed a sad place.”
Oswen had an increased appreciation for time.
He had finally found himself after so long. Everything changed and this was a far cry from his original appearance so...overall, there was a feeling of sadness.
"What do the commanders want? The h.e.l.l Monarch has stopped this world. As a blacksmith, I don’t know why they are so obsessed with G.o.d.”
"Maybe they want to escape the fate of guardians.”
"Certainly, they guard the Middle World from the Demon World. The emperor is not the emperor. That is why he was called the Shadow Emperor. He became crazy in the later years and became known as the h.e.l.l Monarch. But his destiny...”
Oswen smiled sadly and continued talking.
"It is really funny. His cursed destiny became twisted with another person’s. If the Seven Sins had entered his hands then the worlds would have ended.”
"Weren’t you the one who made the Seven Sins?”
"I created them. I used the ‘G.o.d’s Metal’ that the h.e.l.l Monarch brought me. I was engrossed in the work. However, the finished goods were beyond my scope of understanding. I collected the Seven Sins and abandoned them in a crack, where the dark spirits ended up picking them up.”
There was a bittersweet expression on his face.
He had gone through all that work, and the result wasn’t what he expected.
"What will happen if I collect all of the Seven Sins?”
Gathering three had given him the skill ‘Corruption.’ I couldn’t help wondering what the effect of putting together all Seven Sins would be.
“I don’t know. That only thing I’m certain of is that the one who wears them can cause unprecedented destruction. Therefore...I will help you, but don’t gather any more of the Seven Sins.”
“I’ll think about it.”
The one who wore them would cause destruction. But the Seven Sins weren’t made accidentally. The h.e.l.l Monarch had intended to wear them.
'I don’t intend to become the h.e.l.l Monarch.’
My goal was to go beyond that. The h.e.l.l Monarch was in a lower category.
From the beginning, it was impossible to be the h.e.l.l Monarch.
“Come this way. The phantom cavalry are inside.”
There seemed to be no end in sight to the tomb of bones. Oswen stopped and cleared the bones off one part of the floor.
After the dust was wiped away, stones with strange patterns on them were revealed.
Oswen drew the pattern on his ribs. It was a bizarre sight. I jokingly spoke while watching Oswen.
"I guess it doesn’t hurt for an undead.”
"My ribs are reacting to the magic power in the seal.”
"You examined it once. Hmm...make sure you remember everything.”
The glyphs on the ribs. They soon shone with light! The floor opened with a loud sound.
“Ah! This feels like a dream. This memory is real.”
"Is now the time to be talking?”
“Hmm hmm, I’m sorry. Let’s go.”
Oswen stopped fussing over his memories and started guiding me.
A s.p.a.cious underground. A gigantic temple could be seen at the end.
The inside of the temple.
The skulls of 2,000 cavalry were lined up there. An ambient light was coming from the bones. They were self-illuminating. They even had expressions.
"The key is the Emperor’s Sword. Drip blood on the sword and order them.”
It wasn’t a difficult procedure.
I used the Emperor’s Sword to cut my index finger. Once blood flowed onto the sword, I slowly opened my mouth.
The ground convulsed.
The wind made a moaning sound.
Light shone and the ghost cavalry started appearing.
They lined up and bowed. I couldn’t help but raise my head higher at the majestic sight.
There were 2,000 phantom cavalry.
All of them would follow me.
After all of the phantom cavalry showed up, Oswen approached me.
"I don’t remember seeing them move but it really is a great army. They are the best power that the h.e.l.l Monarch hid.”
He was full of admiration.
I looked ahead and said.
"The main fortress isn’t the only stronghold in the south. Other forts exist. We will go there.”
"A good plan. Makdalli should have eaten everything by now. I know the locations so moving there won’t be difficult. If we capture other forts, our survival will be announced and the remaining power of the south will gather...”
“Where is the nearest fort?”
"Two days’ running in the northwest direction.”
“Then let’s go.”
We rode on horses.
Two thousand phantom cavalry followed behind me.
Makdalli’s 3rd subordinate, Charung. He was a lich who captured one of the southern forts and raised the morale of the soldiers.
He drank from a branch of Jellim while climbing the walls.
‘Makdalli-nim will become the supreme commander.’
A commander hadn’t returned to the earth in hundreds of years. But this time, the southern commander was removed. The wind was starting to blow and it was apparent that Makdalli would become the supreme commander.
‘Apart from the Cruel Commander Maxium, the other commanders are no match for Makdalli-nim.’
Charung also felt good about following him.
He was currently 3rd ranked and imagined getting a higher position.
Opening the emperor’s treasure trove...he dreamed about receiving a significant portion of the treasure and becoming stronger.
He noticed it while strolling the walls and receiving the greetings of the soldiers.
Numerous lights could be seen in the distance.
'Is there something there?’
He raised his eyesight. He focused and could figure out the ident.i.ties of the lights.
2,000 soldiers on horseback were storming towards the fort.
The charging power of the phantom cavalry was unimaginable. The particularly huge phantom cavalry aimed at the gates.
Kwa ru ru rung!
The gates at the entrance were split apart. The phantom cavalry entered.
The ma.s.sacre began.
There was no need for words.
‘I like it.’
It was simple and ignorant, but I didn’t dislike this way of fighting.
I gazed around and found the lich on the walls. I quickly realized that he was the captain of this place.
"Who are you?"
The lich asked.
I took out Wrath.
"The Hero of the South.”
Thousands of soldiers were wiped out by the phantom cavalry. I engaged in battle with the 3rd subordinate Charung and won. I received help from Pride, but my pure strength was also above his level.
Of course, there was some damage. 300 phantom cavalry returned to the earth. Nevertheless, this was a clear victory.
After enjoying the afterglow of the victory, Oswen said.
“Spread the rumour. The southern commander and the hero of the south have arrived to reverse the situation.”
"There is no time. As soon as the forts are stabilized, we will run towards Makdalli.”
"I’m not sure if we should recklessly run towards Makdalli. I will send troops to check his place of power.”
"Proceed as quickly as possible.”
Oswen moved to the side.
I was aiming for Makdalli but this was a war. It was hard to see future aspects of a war. I didn’t want to be stupid enough to move too late.
I stood on the walls and looked at the distant horizon.
I am alive, so come here.
In the meantime, I gathered up warriors.
It was spread through the south and Oswen’s followers came.
There were numerous occasions when I moved against Makdalli’s forces. They were brutally defeated every time.
In addition...rumours about the phantom cavalry spread around the entire Underground World.
Therefore, I decided to reveal myself.
I stopped hiding the Heart of the h.e.l.l Monarch and the Emperor’s Sword.
The return of the h.e.l.l Monarch. Such rumours spread so the morale of the enemy was at the worst point.
“You...are not the h.e.l.l Monarch!”
Makdalli didn’t acknowledge it even in the end.
He had high self-esteem as a commander. In his heart, he was already the h.e.l.l Monarch. He didn’t trust my sudden appearance.
In contrast, Makdalli’s eyes were full of fear.
There was no choice. I had the Emperor’s Sword, the Heart of the h.e.l.l Monarch and the phantom cavalry. Makdalli ran a long way just to be punished.
No matter how frustrating, he couldn’t deny it.
"That's right. I am not the h.e.l.l Monarch.”
I had no intention of denying it.
I was Randalph Brigsiel. Not the h.e.l.l Monarch.
I raised Wrath and the Emperor’s Sword.
Makdalli returned to the earth with a scream and...the southern war finally came to an end.