Chapter 375

Zich looked down at Marilyn. Although her face looked extremely grim with blood covered all over it, her facial expression appeared quite calm. Perhaps she believed until the end that Zich would lose and that she would meet him again, or maybe she had a completely different thought. Perhaps, this was her body’s natural response to death.

After kneeling to close her eyes, Zich extended his legs and got up. Then, he looked around. The first thing he saw was the numerous shadows coloring his surroundings black. It seemed like they were still listening to Marilyn’s orders to be on standby since none of them were attacking, but Zich knew this would not last long. With Marilyn’s commanding presence gone, they would go back to attacking Zich and Lyla like the system wanted. However, Zich and Lyla weren’t too worried. Marilyn was now dead, and all the stone statues were destroyed. Shadows that simply battled with numbers weren’t worthy opponents for them.

“Lyla?”

“Y-Yeah?” Lyla responded. With an awkward expression, she approached him. She still had not recovered from Marilyn’s sudden outburst. Yet, Zich didn’t seem to mind that matter much. 

“Could you protect her corpse for a bit?” The shadows appeared like they would move soon. They didn’t seem like they would also attack a corpse, but they couldn’t be completely sure. Besides, the corpse could be harmed from the after-effects of battle. Although Lyla didn’t stare at Zich properly from her embarrassment, she calmed slightly as Zich’s attitude wasn’t different from normal.

“I got it.” Lyla nodded without asking for any more reasons.

“Thank you.” Zich took his eyes off Marilyn as Lyla replaced him. 

Lyla looked down at Marilyn’s corpse. Marilyn was the member of the organization who distorted Zich’s life and tried to get Lyla as their core. She was definitely the enemy, but as Lyla looked at her, she felt complicated feelings. She had developed affection for her. Furthermore, it didn’t seem like Marilyn had treated Lyla friendly simply because of her mission. Lyla was sure that Marilyn also had affectionate feelings for her.

Baaaam!

She heard a loud noise from her side. She turned slightly and saw Zich cleaning the area of shadows in his way. After freeing themselves from Marilyn’s authority, the shadows rushed aggressively towards Zich, but they couldn’t hinder his footsteps. The shadows also ran towards Lyla, but Lyla remained just as indifferent as Zich to them. She lifted her staff.

Shaaa!

Fire sparks shot out from her staff.

Boom!

The fire sparks drew a circle as they spread out and consumed the shadows. Like wiping black ink off the floor with a clean towel, the surrounding shadows disappeared and revealed the floor. Although it didn’t take long for the shadows to blanket the area again, Lyla swept them away again. 

After leaving Marilyn’s corpse to Lyla, Zich walked towards the closest stone chamber. He had tried not to harm the stone chambers because of Lyla’s request, but since this one had been closest to the center of battle, it was half crumbled. Thankfully, although its entrance was a bit crumbled, it still held up its place. Zich arched his back and went inside.

‘It looks fine.’

Although there were piles of stone pieces, the coffin in the innermost corner was fine. Zich treaded towards the coffin, opened its lid without hesitation, took out the corpse inside, and flung it carelessly onto the ground. It was such poor treatment to a corpse that belonged to the Clowon Emperor who had brought his empire to the Golden Age. Yet, Zich didn’t feel any guilt from his actions.

Thud!

He hung the coffin on his shoulders and came out of the stone chamber. The shadows greeted him, but Zich sloppily swung Windur at them and the shadows disappeared with simply just that. Zich crushed the shadows, also rushing towards Lyla and approached her side.

“Is that for Marilyn?”

“Yeah.”

Zich placed the coffin down and placed Marilyn inside it. Lyla didn’t say anything as she watched. The owner of the coffin was in a way, Lyla’s relative; however, Lyla didn’t feel much about that matter. On the contrary, she had ill feelings towards Clowon after seeing Finel in the laboratory, people like Glen Zenard who manipulated people’s destinies using the power of regression, and so on. Zich placed the coffin with Marilyn’s corpse inside his magic box.

“Are you going to bury her somewhere?”

“Yeah, before she betrayed me, she was quite a good subordinate. I think I can at least prepare a burial for her,” Zich said and began walking. “Let’s calm the shadows down first and also take the Flame’s Tear.”

“Sounds good.”

The two penetrated through the shadows and walked towards the pyramid. Not long afterwards, they arrived at the center of the pyramid where the green tree was. However, burnt ashes had replaced the green tree, coloring the floor into a deep dark color.

“This must be the tree’s true appearance,” Zich murmured as he saw the brown tree that had freed itself from the green tree. Like the Tree of Fire that let out fire sparks and the Tree of Water where water flowed down its branches, this brown tree showcased bumpy rocks on its branches. It was definitely revealing itself as the Tree of Earth like Zich and Lyla had predicted. The Tree of Earth had enlarged its branches and covered most of the room. Some of the branches even dug into the walls and floors. Zich turned his body and blocked the entrance of the room. 

“Let’s get rid of those guys first.” Windur began to slice the shadows trying to enter the room. The shadows didn’t rise out of this room. All they had to do was defeat the shadows coming from the entrance.

“Wait a bit.” Lyla put her hands on the Tree of Earth. An incomparable amount of mana from when it was wrapped around in the green tree now flowed out from it. However, Lyla was not taken aback. She had felt this amount of mana from the Tree of Water before. Lyla calmly followed the Tree of Earth’s mana flow and was able to reach the system which continued to release shadows.

‘It’s been damaged extensively.’

In the first place, the defense system produced shadows using the mana suppressed by the green tree, so the system was no longer able to contain the overflowing amount of mana from the Tree of Earth without a suppressor. The system would probably disappear naturally and the shadows would disappear too. However, Lyla didn’t need to wait for that to happen.

Ziiiing!

Lyla’s mana began following the flow of the Tree of Earth; it never tried to go against the flow of the tree. If Lyla tried to twist the tree’s mana comfortably, she would most likely become like Finel. Even though Lyla’s mana was extremely powerful, it couldn’t be compared with the tree’s mana. Like this, Lyla’s mana reached the system. She was almost swept in by the rough flow of the tree’s mana a few times, but she utilized her talents, past experience with the Tree of Water, and secretive observations from Marilyn’s interactions with the tree to successfully reach her destination. Lyla began injecting her mana into the system.

Halt!

The shadow swinging its sickle arm towards Zich stopped moving; the same was true for all the shadows waiting for their turn.

Sssssst.

The shadows began melting into the ground, dripping like mud full of water and they soon completely disappeared without a trace. Zich tried going outside of the pyramid, and the shadows were nowhere to be seen outside as well. After checking for remaining shadows, Zich returned inside the pyramid.

While bending her waist and inserting her body between the branches of the lushly stretched-out Tree of Earth, Lyla turned her head and asked, “How was it?”

“They all disappeared.”

“That’s good.” After saying this, Lyla continued to push the branches and went deeper inside. Then, she came back out after bringing out a red marble. The thing in her hand was the Flame’s Tear. 

Zich glanced at it. “Are there any parts that are broken?’

“It’s fine.” Lyla passed the Flame’s Tear to Zich.

The Flame’s Tear was the reason why Zich was able to release all of his mana and completely break the device that was suppressing the Tree of Earth. They had tried to bait Marilyn to break the suppressor device on the Tree of Earth on her own will, but there was a low possibility that this plan would work. In fact,  Marilyn also hadn’t completely broken the suppressor on the Tree of Earth. However, Marilyn had lowered the suppressor’s ability after realizing that Zich knew about her true identity. Zich’s bait influenced Marilyn to take measures to remove the green tree just in case. This was also the reason why Marilyn had been able to weaken the green tree’s suppressing abilities and increase the strengths of the shadows and statues. Lyla had also used this measure.

After secretly implanting the Flame’s Tear into the Tree of Earth, Lyla made a simple activation artifact and hid it inside. Then, she connected that to Marilyn’s mechanism to remove the green tree. When Lyla activated her mechanism, mana from the Flame’s Tear interacted with Marilyn’s mechanism and exploded at once. Lyla had secretly done this because she thought that Marilyn would likely lower the green tree’s suppressing function at least a little bit to strengthen the defense system. Lyla’s plan was successful and the green tree was unable to endure the strength of the Flame’s Tear and was incinerated into ashes. Then, the now liberated Tree of Earth resonated with Windur and awakened all of Zich’s mana.

“As we expected, that guy seems to awaken your mana by resonating with the trees.” Lyla tapped Windur hanging on his back and continued, “And the defense system seems to be activated when some kind of problem happens to the tree.”

Lyla explained that the defense system probably judged that the tree and Windur’s resonance was a problem and tried to eliminate Zich and his companions.

“You’ve learned quite a lot.”

“I looked intently at what Marilyn was doing while standing next to her. Whenever she was away, I checked how she moved her mana every time. So I’m now sure that I have a deep understanding of the tree.” Lyla swept the rough rocks that came out from the branches with her hands. 

“Then, did you obtain all the information that you could possibly get from the tree?”

“Roughly. I think it would be good to have some time for me to be sure.”

“How long will that take?”

“About ten days.”


“That’s not very long. Then, you should take some time to check.” Zich also approached the tree and tried touching the tree like Lyla did. He felt the rough bark texture of the tree and hardness of the rocks, and he felt the astounding amount of mana flowing inside the tree.

“This tree has been completely freed from its restrictions, right?”

“Can’t you just tell?” Lyla tapped the rocks that sprung out from the tree.

Zich smiled. “If our predictions are right, Glen Zenard’s regressing ability must have become more unstable.”

“Yeah, that’s probably the case.” Even while replying, Lyla glanced at Zich to gauge his mood.

Zich had a natural dislike of Glen in the first place, and as more of Glen’s dirty deeds came to light, Zich’s hatred for Glen grew exponentially. Moreover, the fact that Glen had planted a spy among Zich’s former subordinates had now fully come to light. Lyla didn’t even dare imagine how far Zich’s image of Glen had now plummeted.

Suddenly, Zich uttered something Lyla had never imagined would ever come out of his mouth.

“Lyla.”

“What?”

“Should I try to become a hero for real?”

Lyla blinked. 

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