Chapter 717: Venteio
Avak had informed all of the mercenaries from all over the world, ‘Those that protect and defend?Venteio?will all die too.’
That was the truth. Once Avak ascended and became the Mercenary King, he would purge all of the mercenaries that tried to protect Venteio. He would also use the help of the empire to chase them to the ends of the world and make sure that there was none of them left.
Venteio was also aware of what Avak did. The only reason why he went willingly into certain death was so he could inform the world about the Mercenary’s Pride, before dying in a glorious manner. He thought he was alone, but the mercenaries that he thought had left him behind suddenly appeared and used the ‘Mercenary’s Pinnacle Swordsmanship.’
Bang, bang, bang, bang, bang, bang, bang, bang!
Sword light shot out from the swords of those mercenaries and trampled those that were around them.
“Venteio! Venteio! Venteio!”
“Venteio! Venteio! Venteio!”
Tens of thousands of mercenaries shouted his name as they surrounded him. That was when Venteio realized that these men chose to stay by his side, even if it meant their deaths.
The figure of that ‘man’, who told them to never betray the pride of the mercenaries, suddenly flashed in Venteio’s head. At that moment, Venteio vowed firmly, ‘I have to repay the people that came here to protect our Mercenary’s Pride.’
A stronger power flowed out of Venteio’s sword.
“Mercenary’s Pinnacle Swordsmanship. Final Chapter.”
Like a lone wolf, he glared sharply at his opponents as a howl resounded across the battlefield.
Hundreds of sword lights shot out from Venteio’s sword, turning into black wolves that tore and shredded his enemies apart.
Slash, slash, slash, slash, slash, slash—!
Avak, two other Mercenary King Candidates, as well as the elders, all groaned at the sight of the mercenaries being swept away by Venteio’s sword.
‘This is the man that united the mercenaries from four continents of the world…’
‘A mercenary that only appears once every thousand of years…’
If Venteio did not betray the empire, then he would have easily become the Mercenary King and made a name for himself for a very long time to come.
However, Avak firmly believed that Venteio’s fate had already been changed. The mercenaries behind Avak pulled out their crossbows and began to shoot at the 30,000 Wolf Mercenaries that fought alongside Venteio.
Fwoosh, fwoosh, fwoosh, fwoosh, fwoosh—
“We, We will never forget the pride of mercenaries. Uwaaaaaaaack!”
There was nothing they could do in front of an overwhelming amount of enemies. The mercenaries that came to fight by Venteio’s side were struck down one by one.
Venteio, who instantly cut off the heads of three mercenaries in one go, felt sorry to see his comrades die so helplessly like that.
Avak yelled, “Venteio. Are you trying to make others pay for your sin?!!!”
Venteio knew that he was going to die. Still, his heart ached for these people. He felt sorry that they had to be killed along with him.
“Put your sword in your scabbard and come here! Face judgment in front of the God of Mercenaries! Only then will they, at the very least, be spared!”
“No! Our Mercenary King! You are the only Mercenary King that we will recognize!!!”
Venteio sheathed his sword. At the same time, the mercenaries went to tie up the remaining members of the Wolf Mercenaries instead of killing them. Just like that, Venteio walked silently among the hundreds of thousands of mercenaries until he entered Fortress Babylon.
Waiting for him inside were the Mercenary Elders and the three other Mercenary King Candidates, who led him toward the huge statue of the God of Mercenaries.
God of Mercenary Dawn was worshiped by all of the mercenaries in existence. Venteio stared at Dawn’s imposing statue, with its arms crossed tightly across its chest and a sword hanging on its waist as its eyes glared at whatever battlefield that it was looking at.
“On your knees! Apologize before the God of Mercenaries, Venteio.”
The mercenaries standing behind Venteio kicked him on his leg and forced him to kneel.
“To satisfy your own personal greed, you chose to betray the Luvien Empire and caused the death and injuries of many mercenaries.”
Perhaps it was truly because of Venteio’s personal greed. However, he did not regret it.
Not long after, the bound Wolf Mercenaries were brought in. Avak had actually sent a separate order to capture them from all over the world. But it seemed like it was not needed. Who knew that they would walk into the tiger’s den on their own two feet?
“Venteio, we will now begin the Mercenary King’s inauguration.”
Venteio remained silent. The Mercenary King’s inauguration was an event that required the votes of the elders and the other mercenary kings. The person that would receive the most votes would then present his name to the God of Mercenaries and wait for his recognition and approval.
Just like that, they all circled around the statue of the God of Mercenaries.
“I, Laika, who carry the will of the mercenaries from all over the world, will choose an honorable and brave Mercenary King that will lead us all into a brighter future. His name is…”
In that circle was the kneeling Venteio and Avak, who was standing in front of him and looking down on him with a face filled with arrogance.
Venteio remained silent as the elders began to speak one after the other.
“I, Ethon, who carry the will of the mercenaries from all over the world…will lead us all into a brighter future…”
“His name is Avak.”
“I, Coru…all over the world…”
“His name is Avak.”
The voices of the Mercenary Elders resonated in the building. Finally, Sven’s turn came. He looked sadly at Venteio and said, “I, Sven…all over the world…”
Each of their words stabbed deeply into Venteio’s heart. At the same time, Avak spoke in a low voice, “You have to give your recognition to me too, Venteio. If you don’t do it, then I will kill all of the Wolf Mercenaries in this place.”
Venteio looked up at Avak. That must have been the reason why he captured the Wolf Mercenaries instead of killing them on the spot. Venteio was obviously one of the candidates for the Mercenary King. He knew that one could lose their qualifications as a candidate for becoming the Mercenary King by either fighting against each other or by giving up their right and pointing out another.
Avak was truly a shrewd and manipulative man. He knew full well that the mercenaries, who had the slightest bit of distrust in him, would only follow him if Venteio acknowledged him as the next Mercenary King.
Venteio looked at the Wolf Mercenaries, whose eyes were covered with black blindfolds and their hands were tied tightly with a rope, shaking and trembling.
“I, Mercenary King Candidate Ars, give up my qualifications and choose Avak as the next Mercenary King.”
One of the candidates spoke up and named Avak as the next Mercenary King.
“I, Mercenary King Candidate Ferell, give up my qualifications and choose Avak as the next Mercenary King.”
Now, two had already given up their qualifications. There was no elder nor candidate here that chose to recognize Venteio.
“Venteio, are you really willing to kill those poor and pitiful people?” Avak’s vicious, evil voice that was stained with pure greed slammed into Venteio’s ears.
“I, Mercenary King Candidate Venteio…” Venteio uttered very, very slowly. “Give up my qualifications…”
A wide, evil grin appeared on Avak’s face. He felt quite pleased. He believed that he would sit on that throne and leave Venteio behind. He could finally enjoy all kinds of pleasures and riches. When all of this was over, Venteio would long become a cold, hard corpse.
“…the next Mercenary King…”
Everyone held their breath. Even the Wolf Mercenaries kept quiet, their disappointment in Venteio clear. Where was the Mercenary’s Pride that he spoke of? Did he abandon it because he felt sorry for them? Because they would get killed? That was very disappointing.
But then, someone opened his mouth amidst the heavy silence that fell inside the hall, “I choose Venteio as the Mercenary King.”
Furious, Avak looked at the direction where the voice came from. However, he could not find who it was because the person was mixed in among the Wolf Mercenaries.
At the same time, Venteio, who was forced to kneel down, slowly stood up and glared at Avak.
“I do not recognize Avak as the next Mercenary King.”
Venteio quickly pulled out his sword. Although he felt his heart ache at the thought of the Wolf Mercenaries dying, he still did not let his pride fall apart. However, he would make sure that they would all become legends and go down in history together.
Avak was sent flying back as Venteio’s sword struck his body. The two other Mercenary King Candidates immediately jumped toward Venteio. No matter how strong Venteio was, there was no way that he could deal with three Mercenary King Candidates all on his own.
Nevertheless, Venteio still shouted at the top of his lungs, “Shame on all of you!!! Shame on the ones that called themselves the mercenary kings yet chose to abandon their pride and honor to become the Luvien Empire’s dogs!!!”
Venteio swung his sword, effectively stopping Mercenary King Candidate Ars from moving forward.
“History will remember us! I will fight until my last breath to protect the pride of the mercenaries. Wolf Mercenaries, remember this fact well!!!” Venteio continued to shout, his eyes turning bloodshot. “Our deaths will not be in vain! Many of our descendants and the future generation will definitely inherit our pride!!!”
“We believe you!!!”
“We are not afraid of death!!!”
“We are very honored to fight with you and die today!!!”
“Hiiiiiik! Mercenary Elders! Quickly inform the God of Mercenaries the result of the Mercenary King’s inauguration!” Avak shouted hurriedly.
Venteio was a monster. The three of them might have the power to kill him but the damage that they would receive in return would be huge. However, the moment he becomes the Mercenary King, he would receive and awaken a portion of the power of the God of Mercenaries. That would make it much easier for him to kill Venteio.
The Mercenary Elders hurriedly prayed to their god.
“O’ Father of Mercenaries, the Mercenary King that is recognized by all…”
“O’ Father of Mercenaries…recognized by all…”
Venteio’s heart ached even further. Once he died his honorable death, Avak would become the Mercenary King. And once that happened, all of the mercenaries would be reduced to nothing but mere tools.
‘Master. What should I do?’
However, all he could do right now was to fight desperately. Venteio gritted his teeth and parried the attacks of the other Mercenary King Candidates.
Like a dam breaking, several attacks landed on his body the moment one attack pierced through Venteio’s defenses.
Ping, ping, ping, ping—
“Ugh!” A groan escaped Venteio’s mouth. At the same time, the prayers of the Mercenary Elders came to an end, staining his face with despair.
“Please give recognition to Mercenary King Avak.”
“Please give recognition to Mercenary King Avak.”
The statue of God of Mercenaries Dawn resonated with their words.
Hearing the resonance, Avak raised his arms and rejoiced. “Keuhahahahahahahahahaha!”
Whenever the God of Mercenaries chooses his Mercenary King, he would bestow upon them a sword made of light. Once Avak grabbed a hold of it, all of the mercenaries would kneel at his feet and sing him praises! And he would become the true Mercenary King.
However, something very unusual happened. A very beautiful sword that was emitting a black light appeared in front of God of Mercenaries Dawn’s statue. There were no records in the history of mercenaries of a sword made of black light ever appearing.
Then, the sword made of black light flew in search of its owner. It went past Avak and many more people until it reached Venteio. At the same time, a voice rang from deep within the statue of God of Mercenaries Dawn.
[The Father of all mercenaries and the God of Mercenaries, Dawn, has sent an envoy for the sake of the descendant that will succeed his ‘name’.]
Everyone froze. The word descendant did not mean the next Mercenary King. It meant that whoever that was would become the new God of Mercenaries. The sword made of black light stopped in front of an unidentified man that was standing among the Wolf Mercenaries.
However, what was more surprising was the fact that the man released the ropes that bound him tightly and the blindfold that covered his eyes with ease.
The man, whose face was suddenly covered with a black smoke, grabbed the sword made of black light. When the smoke dissipated, the man’s face had already changed. The man had fair skin, a straight nose and big shining eyes. The shabby cape on his back also changed and turned into a white cape that carried the symbol of a fork and knife crossed together.
He walked forward and stopped in front of Venteio. An unknown force slowly forced him to once again kneel down. In fact, it was not only him. No one could move. They were all equal in front of the power of god.
Venteio had seen the man on the battlefield just recently. The man smiled kindly at Venteio.
[The God of Mercenaries has been watching those that were willing to sacrifice their lives for the pride of mercenaries for a very long time.]
[The God of Mercenaries’ envoy uses his voice to deliver his message!]
“Child,” the man said with a soft and clear voice. Venteio could only stare at his eyes that carried a warmth that was similar to a mother’s touch. “Grab your sword.”
Venteio’s hand moved slowly until he grabbed the hilt of the sword that was radiating with a beautiful black light.
Black flames burst out from the sword and engulfed Venteio.
At that moment, those that could not move were finally able to move once again. In front of everyone present, the man, Food God Minhyuk, looked at Venteio and said softly, “Didn’t I say it before? You’re the only one that can become the Mercenary King.”
The owner of the voice that shouted those words among Wolf Mercenaries earlier was him.