They, who made up the Dark Company, clearly upheld the will of the ‘Great Star’ for all to see. It was for that reason that even a demon lord couldn’t lay a hand on the Dark Company and its dark merchants. But this wasn’t Earth. Earth was the ‘final place of the deciding battle’, and demon lords were capable of using the Dark Gate to create ‘gates’ leading into Earth. At the same time, I recalled something however.
Uriel Diablo. It was when I used his body to create a gate. I had opened a gate into a go-between transit point on Rakshasa Mountain because the rift hadn’t wasn’t open sufficiently. It was thanks to that gate that I was able to enter Rakshasa Mountain after all.
‘If demon lords can do it, so can the dark merchants.’
The dark merchants should be capable of opening gates into other realms as well, and I had an inkling as to what kind of method they used to acquire ‘goods’.
“Why are the great pretas suddenly…!”
Even for Yaksha, great pretas were monsters among monsters. They were masses of desire whose strength grew along with their sizes, and only inhabited the levels 70 and above.
It was impossible to confront the great pretas unless the Yaksha were to face them together. Even with all the Twelve Heavenly Generals moving out, it wasn’t possible for them to deal with hundreds of great pretas at once.
And the great pretas…were indiscriminately eating up the Yaksha. The great pretas that had filled their stomachs would then spread their crude wings to once again take to the skies, and disappear beyond the barrier. Beyond the barrier, there was something resembling a black hole.
It was a gate leading into the abyss. The Rakshasa tried going over, but they weren’t able to go close to it as if blocked by something. Only the great pretas…the dark merchants, were able to pass through the gates and enter the abyss.
‘They are plundering.’
I nodded my head. It was an act of plunder. The dark merchants stole items by force, and they sold them at the Dark Company within the abyss. In this way, the useful items would be supplied to the demon lords. Igneel and Etaqua’s egg must have been acquired in this manner as well. Indeed, where on earth would anyone find a crazy dragon willing to obediently hand over their egg?
“Wanna bet on who can hunt the most?”
“Honjae Yeon! Haven’t I told you that this is no time to play around?”
Before I knew it, there was a long sword gripped in Honjae Yeon’s hand. It was sharp and as long as his own body, but it appeared just as tricky for its user to handle. But Honjae Yeon swung that sword as if it were child’s play. Afterwards, he leaped out and charged toward a great preta by himself.
Hwarin Gu held her forehead. Although they had agreed to cooperate, Honjae Yeon was a Yaksha mad for the sword. Simply put, he had a screw loose in his head. But despite that he was hunting a great preta all by himself.
The blade of the long sword was suffused with a vibrant energy shining orange. It was Strong Ki. It was a technique which materialized energy and could cut through anything. It was a special technique exclusive to swordsmen who have reached an expert level. Honjae Yeon laughed, cutting apart the flesh and bones of the great preta. He was splattered with blood, but he didn’t mind.
“Hahaha! Fun, how fun it is!”
I would say Mad Dragon suited him more, rather than Sword Dragon.
“The Rakshasa will exterminate these things! What we must do is to herd these great pretas into one side! Yaksha proficient in sorcery and tao magic will assist us, while Yaksha experienced in warrior skills will spread out widely and face the great pretas!”
Hwarin Gu appeared to be rather well-versed in tactics. In mere moments she figured out what she had to do and took command of the scene. She was selfless, should I say. Not a bad type for a leader.
‘Had they mustered this much troops just to hunt down the Yaksha?’
I pondered. I recalled every single details. Dark merchants. The Yaksha here were outstanding, however, they weren’t exactly tempting enough for them to forcefully break through the barrier and deploy troops.
Even for the dark merchants, they wouldn’t be able to mobilise troops of this scale without taking any risks. I could be certain of it, as I was technically a demon lord myself. The dark merchants were able to raise their own ‘prestige’ by using the points earned through trading. That being the case, the troops that procured items should be similar. And I arrived at a single conclusion.
‘The library. They’re aiming for the warrior skills.’
Warrior skills. Skill books with authentic structure! I read those warrior skill books and saw a whole new world. Warrior skills could be called the essence of the Yaksha and Rakshasa, because while it was made available to all of Yaksha, those warrior skills could never be seen by those not Yaksha. What’s more, I had the feeling that they weren’t here to simply procure goods.
‘The rift is widening.’
It was being invaded…their world. The claws of the abyss were reaching out. I turned to stare at the library. One of the great pretas was running towards the library, taking advantage of the moment when all attention was elsewhere.
I had to stop it. If the warrior skills were to pass into the abyss and reached the demon lords, they would obtain an even greater power.
‘No matter what happens…!’
I mustn’t let it reach that place. My feet began moving, even before thinking. I drew out a sword from within the Jewel of Space. Alamoor’s Straight Sword!
The Ascendant’s Cape read my intention and immediately equipped itself on my shoulders, and then I felt as if the flow of the wind had changed. The headwind became tailwind, removing air resistance. I arrived there even faster, and hung myself on the flank of the great preta.
But it wasn’t enough. The moment I hung onto it, a hand that popped out of the great preta smacked me to the ground.
I coughed up blood. I would have broken a bone if not for Vajra Body. Soon after, the Ascendant’s Cape forcefully moved my body, and protected me from the countless hands pouring out from the great preta’s body. Shaking my head, I once again fixed a glare at it.
The surrounding ground turned black. Countless ‘hands of death’ emerged and fended off the hands pouring out from the great preta’s body. The Ascendant’s Cape lifted me into the air. The preta’s weakness was the neck. The neck was weaker compared to its other parts.
The had begun running moment I landed on the great preta. I headed straight for its neck and plunged my sword in, and then the great preta greatly twisted its body.
My ears went deaf. The great preta’s scream alone inflicted magical damage. It caused anyone who heard it to instantly faint. But the Ascendant’s Cape was capable of defending against great magic(S). Thanks to that, I could avoid fainting at least.
Following that, the great preta buried its own face into its body. In that instant, the great preta’s face appeared through its back, and attacked me with its huge mouth gaping towards me.
I managed to barely dodge it, but my clothes were ripped, and half of my left forearm was bitten off and eaten. My bones weren’t damaged, but I couldn’t properly exert strength into it.
I couldn’t cope with the great preta’s speed. The difference in stat was too great for that. The great preta’s face became divided. It instantly split into dozens of faces and attacked me from all directions.
ㅡThis bad preta!
ㅡDear grasses, protect that person.
Lime, Layul, Laon. It was at that moment that the spirits of grass appeared. They had forcefully materialized and used their powers to protect their contractor. Until now they had been avoiding the Yaksha and Rakshasa, thus refrained from making an appearance, but they couldn’t just watch me die.
Roots began to grow from the ground in mere moments. All the trees here, in Rakshasa Citadale, had long roots which were harder than iron. The great preta became bound by the roots. In an instant, its movements faltered, and in that time I succeeded in moving away. But that was all. I couldn’t deal any direct damage excluding the first time. Was it beyond my abilities? Was I incapable of protecting that place!?
“You have endured well.”
At that moment, a shadow fell from above me. I raised my head. An ill-tempered looking old man was there.
The Rakshasa that died after handing me the Heartless Soul Stealer Blade. He was holding onto a sword. The sword looked completely ordinary, but it was suffused with a powerful blueish energy, appearing as if it would sever all that is in the world.
“Mere scum coveting our history?”
The books in the library were the history of Yaksha and Rakshasa. The memories of their lives, the breaths they took was recorded there. Only Wolcheon knew of its value. That’s why he was enraged. He was aflame with fury. The moment he swung the sword,
The great preta’s body was cleaved in half. The sword Ki blasted towards it like wind and tore apart the great hungry in half, and left behind a huge fissure on the ground. To think that he was capable of not just suffusing sword ki, but to even discharge it!
Following that, a preta was ripped apart every time he swung his sword. It took less than 1 second to rip them into hundreds, thousands of pieces, even making it impossible for them to regenerate.
Overwhelming. There was no other word for it. Afterwards, Wolcheon turned to look at me.
“Thank you. It could be protected thanks to you.”
“…Not at all.”
I shook my head. In the end, it couldn’t have been protected if he hadn’t appeared.
“A Yaksha beloved by spirits. I’ve seen something interesting for the first time in a while.”
Wolcheon left together with a calm smile on his face. Like the wind.
I clutched my injured arm. In the distance, it appeared that the Rakshasa and Yaksha, including the Five Dragons, were quickly suppressing the situation.
“It’s sir Daerasun!”
“Sir Daerasun has appeared!”
A typhoon blew all over Rakshasa Citadale. There appeared a man with a strange appearance, neither human nor monkey. He held a cane in his hand, riding on top of clouds as his white beard fluttered in the wind.
He looked to about as small as 70cm, but the moment he swung the cane, a typhoon blew and lightning fell. Simultaneously, the black rift began to shrink.
Daerasun. The name of the absolute being ruling over the Rakshasa realm. The moment he appeared, the dark merchants abandoned the great pretas and ran. Perhaps they realized at a glance that he wasn’t an opponent they could confront.
“Let none escape alive!”
The Yaksha and Rakshasa…even the abyss shouldn’t be able to easily provoke them if they were to combine their strength. They were more powerful than any other group I had come across. Together with a slight shiver running down my spine, I burned the scene of their battle into my eyes.
They had won the battle, but the atmosphere wasn’t good. The reason being that although they had caught several dark merchants as hostages, not much time passed before they disappeared like dust. Whether it be the question of who had attacked them, nothing was revealed in the end.
“Exactly who had attacked Rakshasa Citadale?”
“I’d never seen such lifeforms on Rakshasa Mountain.”
“How strange. Strange indeed.”
The great pretas weren’t the culprit. The great pretas were merely being ‘controlled’. The bizarre lifeforms with pitch-black bodies wearing nothing but a hat. No, it wasn’t certain if they were even lifeforms.
Only I was aware that they were dark mechants. The battle was settled, and the barrier was reconstructed. The rift connecting to the abyss had cleanly disappeared, and there was an official announcement.
ㅡThis year’s Stigma Tournament will be postponed until next year.
ㅡThe Rakshasa shall guard the levels with further vigilance.
ㅡFive days from now, Rakshasa Citadale will be evacuated. All Yaksha shall return to their own mountains. This is for the sake of carrying out the ritual of ‘One-hundred-eight Barrier’ for 108 days.
ㅡAll this is the will of Daerasun.
There was no dissent. Daerasun. If he decided so, then the Yaksha and Rakshasa had to follow. The One-hundred-eight Barrier was the most powerful of barriers. It implied the seriousness of this time’s affair.
For the remaining five days, they paid tribute in honor of those Yaksha who had disappeared or died. It was estimated that dozens of Yaksha were caught in the mouths of the great pretas, and disappeared into the abyss. And as for me…
‘I should go.’
I entered preparation.
Transfer. Through it, I wanted to confirm the truth with my own two eyes. If they had truly come here for the sake of acquiring ‘goods’, then it was possible that the kidnapped Yaksha would be sold at the Dark Company. Also, I felt the need to investigate the dark merchants, because it may be that they were the chief instigators of all these incidents.
I had never thought in this direction before. I had only considered the demon lords as a problem.
[‘Transfer’ will be maintained for 72 hours(144 hours in the abyss).]