Omniscient First-Person’s Viewpoint Chapter 106

Chapter 106 - Beasts, their Kings, and Humans - 2

༺ Beasts, their Kings, and Humans – 2 ༻



  Two claws shimmering with blue energy tore into the world. Shei’s response was a simple, deft twist of her wrist, fending off the back-to-back slashes aimed at her.


  Chun-aeng, the weightless blade, was a weapon that applied inertia solely against Ebon. He witnessed Shei block his left claw, yet a spin of the wrist swiftly redirected the blade, aiming to cleave his head. Because of this, Ebon was forced to maintain a constant defensive stance with one hand, even as he launched attacks with the other.


  “An invisible weapon of all things. I did think it was a headache at first…”


  Chun-aeng’s concealed nature actually worked in Ebon’s favor. Had he not focused on Shei’s wrist from the outset, his head would have been split apart before he even realized the sword’s secret.


  Ebon denounced the illogicality of this.


  “It certainly is a weapon good beyond your worth.”


  “What do you know with that puny head of yours? I daresay it’s at least ten times better than you think.”


  Shei sneered coldly as she launched Qi blades.


  Skyblade Art, Gentle Breeze. From this moment on, the wind would smile only for her. As Chun-aeng descended, it became shrouded in the embrace of the air. A weightless blade it was, yet the resonating wind bore its own might.




  Ebon interlocked his claws in a defensive stance, six blades bracing against Chun-aeng, vibrating fiercely. Employing a forceful thrust, he managed to repel the attack. But the moment he used both hands to defend, he was already defeated in terms of strategy.


  Shei smirked, while Ebon’s jaw tightened.


  “You do well despite the thrashing from a Beast King!”


  “Oh, this?”


  Shei bobbed her head, that derisive mirth still lingering on her lips. In that moment, bloodcraft manifested its influence and the blood outside her body returned within.


  Ebon exclaimed in astonishment.


  “So it was a disguise!”


  “No, not a disguise. I just healed myself, because I did actually get a little hurt.”


  That truth was no comfort to Ebon. If his opponent could mend wounds and replenish blood to some degree, that undermined his strategy of inducing bleeding through claw-inflicted wounds as a path to victory.


  “That Cat King, she didn’t run despite enduring quite a bit of injury. Trained her well, have we? I took some unexpected hits thanks to that.”


  “You hold such self-assurance in your hodgepodge of skills.”


  Inevitably, he found himself needing to utilize his second power. Ebon twisted his left wrist while muttering under his breath.


  “Call to Arms, Set.”


  In that instant, the compact combat arm integrated into his left claw clicked into place with his bio-receptor. Before long, the bio-receptor began emitting a glow as it absorbed mana.


  With a clunking sound, a steel framework materialized over his skin, its surface adorned with a gleaming layer of level 3 alchemic steel.


  It wasn’t a transformation. Mana and alchemic light coursed through his arch-avatar, enabling Ebon to seamlessly equip the combat arm amidst the ongoing battle.


  Now wearing a steel helmet, Ebon turned his head to the side. Just as Chun-aeng aimed for his head, the single horn on his helmet deflected the attack. Confronted by this unfamiliar gear, Shei summoned wind to blast Ebon and stepped back to observe her enemy’s weapon.


  Ebon uttered an introduction in a quiet voice full of confidence.


  “Commander arm, Unicorn.”


  What emerged from his claws were a set of gauntlets, chest armor with shoulder guards, and a helmet, which came with a sturdy horn that wasn’t just decoration. This was Ebon’s exclusive equipment, specially crafted by the Military State, which protected his upper body while offering additional offensive capability.


  As Shei gazed in silence, Ebon proceeded to explain, his voice resonating beneath his horned helmet.


  “You, of all people, should understand. Fighting with claws holds the disadvantage of exposing your head. Until now, I’ve had to either block or shift to an evasive stance when you aimed for my head… However, that will no longer be happening since I have equipped my combat arm. All that remains now is to purely attack. So then, do you think you can stop me?”


  Shei tilted her head, face marked by puzzlement.


  Ebon smiled in satisfaction, but contrary to his expectation, Shei’s confusion wasn’t about the arm’s capability.


  “I’ve genuinely never seen this combat arm before. You didn’t steal that, did you? Or is it a model that’s about to be scrapped because it sucks?”


  At times, patience fails to even kick in when your ears take in something monumentally absurd. 


  Ebon, in an uncharacteristic fit of anger, bellowed in response to the rude, disjointed, and baffling suspicion.


  “Of course you’ve never seen it! I am a Star of the State, and my combat arm is an artifact granted exclusively to general officers! Just as a star is unique, so is a general’s combat arm!”


  “What is it? There was no general with such an idiotic combat arm last time. Just what the heck? Even you guys weren’t the culprits?”


  “…What do you mean?”


  Shei’s question wasn’t something the current Ebon could answer, though. She was so caught in her thoughts that she even forgot the fight, murmuring to herself.


  “Warden. A man, part of the Human Regime that’s all about humanity’s sublime longing or whatever. He knew about the undying, it probably takes someone at the undying’s level to handle him, and he brought the Beast King.”


  Fragmented information spilled from her lips. Hearing this, Lieutenant General Ebon asked her in a lower voice than before.


  “…Humanity’s sublime longing? Boy, what do you know?”


  Shei could answer but had no thoughts of doing so. She merely continued her self-talk.


  “And there were two women. It’s unclear whether that included Azzy, but since it’s hard to tell if the lieutenant colonel was even there, if I overlook that… pretty much everything falls right into place.”


  But then she halted her line of reasoning, showing frustration as she encountered a puzzle piece that refused to fit.


  “Then, just who the heck raised hell in the abyss?! And those Human Regime people are supposed to be beast experts in their own right. Why’d they put Azzy in that state? And where’d all those corpses come from?!”


  Their information converged. Ebon couldn’t solve Shei’s questions, whereas Shei wasn’t going to solve Ebon’s.


  In this instance, it was Ebon who found himself with a new task at hand. He clashed his claws together, creating a metallic rasp as he subsequently pulled them apart, sparks erupting from the blades.


  “It appears… I must sever your right arm and begin an interrogation to hear an answer. Do not worry. I shall leave your left arm with the bio-receptor intact. It will be needed for the torture to come.”


  Shei scowled as unwelcome memories resurfaced. Yet, despite the harrowing recollections, capable of triggering PTSD, her initial reaction was annoyance. It was one of her strong traits… from the perspective of a regressor, that is.


  “How about you focus on keeping your horn safe, hmm?”


  “Your concern is unwarranted. While the other components are of level 3 quality, this horn alone is forged from level 4 alchemic steel. I pray you will not die of accidental impalement. You have much to share with me, after all.”


  “No, that wasn’t my point. That thing on your head.”


  Shei grinned sinisterly, her hair crackling with static electricity out of nowhere.


  Belatedly, it dawned on Ebon that Chun-aeng had begun to roil ominously, and that its original transparent form had suddenly turned dark as stormy clouds.


  “Isn’t it perfect for getting hit by a certain something? You know, they say thunderbirds searching for a perch favor pointed spots.”


  Ebon felt something was amiss, but before he could even respond, Shei’s maneuver was completed. With a downward swipe of her finger, she unleashed her power.


  Skyblade Art, Thunderbird.


  As if preordained, as if no other outcome were possible, a solitary lightning bolt descended upon Unicorn’s horn.




  Lightning surged through Ebon. He fought against the convulsions running through him as he invoked a Qi Art upon himself.


  State Standard Qi Art, Heaven Kata: Deflection. A barrier materialized around him, capable of repelling bullets and arrows. Harnessing this deflective force, he momentarily shook off the lightning’s impact, then planted his legs in the ground before channeling another Qi Art.


  Standard Qi Art, Earth Kata: Flow. With his feet grounded, he extended the reach of his Qi Art and instantly redirected the lightning’s energy into the earth. The stormy force that penetrated his body swiftly dissipated.


  Ebon was left gasping for air after achieving the feat of diverting lightning.


  “Haah, haah.”


  But the toll from that singular attack was staggering. He had been forced to use a succession of Qi Arts to withstand the blow rather than evade it, resulting in an extreme depletion of his energy.


  As Ebon gathered his strength, Shei jeered at him.


  “Looks like you achieved Heaven and Earth somehow. So, did you get a sense of Water? Or do they still make you all generals for just managing to do Earth?”


  “Kgh… You’re just some lucky boy who stumbled upon an artifact! Don’t talk like you’re above me because you’re gaining the upper hand with its power!”


  Ebon’s furious outcry was aimed at buying himself the time needed for recovery. To his surprise, though, Shei’s expression twisted in reaction.


  “I’m all gear no skill?”


  That wasn’t how he put it, but her somewhat hysterical reaction made Ebon unable to deny it, so he kept quiet. Meanwhile, Shei huffed and puffed, clutching Chun-aeng as she glared across at him.


  “Did you just call me all gear no skill?”


  Sensing her animosity surge, Ebon hastily took up his claws.


  Shei gripped Chun-aeng tightly with both hands, curling her arms as she drew it back behind her shoulder. Simultaneously, she invoked a Qi Art throughout her entire body. Her Qi, enriched by an assortment of treasures and elixirs, flowed into Chun-aeng.


  Instantaneously, she swathed herself in phenomenal might as she roared at Ebon.


  “Quit saying all gear, you jerk! I don’t need Chun-aeng to put down a stupid lieutenant generaaal!”


  Heavenly Counter Domain was the ultimate defensive Qi Art that imprinted a sequence of movements into the practitioner’s body, enabling them to instinctively parry even unforeseen attacks. However, the movements didn’t necessarily need to be defensive.


  There were more branches of attack in comparison to defense. Offensive techniques demanded diversity and tailored adjustments depending on the opponent. Therefore, imprinted katas such as in the case of Heavenly Counter Domain boasted overwhelming defensive efficiency. In fact, this was Heavenly Counter Domain’s very purpose.


  Still, Shei had mused to herself… what’s wrong with having a few offensive katas? Maybe about five, as long as they’re relatively adaptable.


  So, she put the idea into action. And one of the five offensive katas she had stubbornly created was the left diagonal slash.


  Chun-aeng cleaved mightily through space, as Qi transformed into momentum within the weightless blade. The sword, imbued with azure energy, represented the sole expanse of sky within the abyss. It could neither be resisted nor blocked.




  Ebon exerted his Qi Art to its maximum in an attempt to defend himself, but confronted by his adversary’s overwhelming power, all that ensued was the deflection of his claws.


  The level 4 alchemic steel horn of Unicorn shattered, and Chun-aeng inflicted a massive gash from Ebon’s shoulder guards down to his chest armor. The blade sliced through even the deflective barrier underneath it all, etching a diagonal line of blue across his body.


  Blood sprayed, and Ebon was driven back in a stagger.


  Shei, momentarily frozen by the impact of the attack, chose not to pursue him further, given the distance between them. Instead, she opted to assess her opponent from afar.


  Ebon had at least avoided a fatal blow due to Qi Deflection. Thanks to its defense, his body was pushed away at the moment of contact, and thus he managed to protect his ribs from Chun-aeng’s path. The injury was already serious, but in any case, he had preserved his life.


  Ebon expelled a lament, blood mingling with his words.


  “… Damned… Sunderspear… How could he drop… a monster like this here… without even neutralizing him…”


  Shei replied in an indifferent mutter.


  “If you knew, you should’ve taken more precautions.”


  Ebon broke into a long laugh, which persisted until he coughed up blood. Pressing a hand against his mouth to stop the blood from spilling, he voiced a quiet question.


  “Haha… I even brought, the Cat King… What more preparation was needed?”


  Shei acknowledged this point. The Human Regime had demonstrated considerable forethought in mobilizing a Beast King. Any force of greater magnitude would undoubtedly be intended for a momentous battle. It was a resource beyond the personal reach of a lieutenant general.


  Instead, Ebon had utilized every available means at his disposal. Be it the influence of his rank, the talented personnel he had carefully recruited and cultivated, the mana cigars, or his adjutant.


  “Yet, to think… everything would be stopped, due to a single anomaly…”


  With a hollow murmur, Ebon unsummoned Unicorn. Leaving behind the shattered remnants of metal, the remaining alchemic steel dissolved into light and was absorbed into Ebon’s left arm. Click. A chipped, fractured combat arm packet emerged.


  A general’s combat arm served both as a sort of dog tag and a weapon full of military secrets. In defeat, it was a soldier’s virtue to lock it into packet form, if only to prevent the dissemination of technology.


  But as he picked it up with a trembling hand, a crack resounded from within the packet, akin to the sound of a gem shattering. Following the sound, a broken shard of gem fell at his feet.


  Ebon’s eyes widened; he hadn’t misheard. The shard belonged to a twin gem that resonated with each other. The kind that when one broke, the other would break in tandem.


  “What’s that?”


  Shei wondered what it was, but Ebon had no obligation to answer. Besides, the truth would soon reveal itself.




  Nabi’s cry echoed from a distance. It was a howl that carried a hint of madness, distinct from mere hissing.


  Surprised, Shei directed her gaze toward the interior of the prison building.


  “What? Is it a frenzy? No, that doesn’t seem to be the case…?”


  “Heh, heh, heh.”


  Ebon was no stranger to this scenario; he understood what was going on.


  The process of training Nabi had proven arduous, time-consuming, and even fraught with danger. Even humans in the throes of addiction posed a threat, so how worse would the Cat King be?


  Initially, Nabi had regarded the mana cigars as a gift at first and readily accepted them. But when her withdrawal symptoms intensified, she’d assault the handler of the cigars and seize the remaining supply before escaping. And when the handler died, Ebon would immediately cease supply of the drugs.


  Nabi would stealthily return when her stash ran dry. She’d threaten, beg, and sometimes overturn the whole base for the cigars, but she couldn’t find any. Writhing from the agony of withdrawal, Nabi formed an unwavering belief that Ebon was her sole source of mana cigars.


  Ebon would tantalize her for a prolonged duration before finally providing the mana cigars, persuading her that stealing would deprive her of cigars forever. And the cycle repeated itself, over and over.


  Thanks to those efforts, Nabi came to equate the “handler’s death” with the “loss of drugs”.


  It wasn’t a bad thing, both for Ebon and the colonel. At least the colonel could keep his life safe from Nabi, and if he did die, Nabi would go wild and lay waste to everything. It served as a reliable insurance for both.


  “…Ha. He devised something like this too…? Truly, he is worse than I am.”


  Yet, the unknown supporter of the Human Regime had transformed even this insurance into a device: if Ebon were to be defeated, the Cat King would be set loose on a rampage… Clearly, some form of mechanism had been implanted within Ebon’s sole adjutant. It was most likely the kind that caused internal destruction if the twin gem broke, to make the smell of blood spread as much as possible.


  “Regardless, I am grateful. Thanks to him…”


  While Nabi succumbed to madness and Shei’s attention momentarily shifted, Ebon chewed on the mana cigar he had concealed within his mouth; he had inserted it earlier, pretending to cover his mouth.


  The paper wrapping tore, and the mana herb made of catnip–to be exact, a blend of Catnip King and dried world tree leaf–spread throughout his mouth.


  Ebon muttered to himself self-deprecatingly.


  “Heheh. I didn’t, want to use this…”


  Phut. A flame rose from his finger. Though primarily a physical combatant, he did acquire level 1 everyday magic as part of his cultural education.


  “Set, Re.”


  The magic he cast was Ignite, a fusion of the fire spell Fahrenheit and the wind spell Pascal. The flames within his mouth spread like wildfire, blazing to life at once by consuming the mana herb.


  When Shei returned her attention to him, she was confused.


  “Huh? You set your mouth on fire? What’s the big…?”


  The answer… came in the form of what had become of Lieutenant General Ebon.




  His eyes narrowed to slits, hair stood on rigid end, posture naturally lowered, and nails elongated slightly.


  Shei finally realized what her opponent was.


  “You’re…! A catkin…!”


  In lieu of a reply, black smoke billowed forth from Ebon’s mouth. The combustion of mana herbs produced smoke imbued with a potency dozens of times greater than its fragrance. When a catkin got a whiff of this, they would forget pain, regain their bestial blood, and plunge into a frenzied state.


  Given its highly addictive nature and severe aftereffects, even the Human Regime didn’t particularly recommend its usage. But in the face of impending demise, was anything truly off the table?


  Ebon screamed at Shei, even as the flames scorched the insides of his mouth.


  “Kihyaagh! No! I’m no beast! I’m human—!”


  Ebon lunged forward, this time on all fours, faster and lighter than before. He was in a frenzy, yet his intelligence remained intact.


  Shei had beheld the same spectacle in a previous life cycle. She saw in him humanity’s greatest enemies, the beastkin who had ushered forth Beast Kings into battle.


  “No wonder your method of attack seemed strange…! So this is why the Cat King listened to you! She thought you were her subject! But how did you hide your ears and tail…?!”


  Shei swiftly scrutinized Ebon, then saw it. Amidst the bristling hair where his helmet had been, there were traces of something severed and coagulated.


  “Your own ears…! What… lunatics…!”


  She couldn’t continue any further. Ebon’s claws swept toward her with far greater power and cunning than before, resembling that of a true feline.


  Round two commenced as Ebon launched every fiber of his being into the fight.



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Omniscient First-Person’s Viewpoint

Omniscient First-Person’s Viewpoint

Status: Ongoing Author:
I, a mere con artist, was unjustly imprisoned in Tantalus, the Abyssal Prison meant for the most nefarious of criminals, where I met a Regressor.   But when I used my ability to read her mind, I found out that I was fated to die in a year…   And that the world would end 10 years later.


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