“What’s your business with me?”
Sungchul spoke out abruptly while continuing to slurp down his noodles.
“I just came to see what you looked like. I was curious as to how the most infamous person in the world looked like.”
Kha’nes walked up casually and sat down across from him. Sungchul did not mind her at all. He didn’t feel any hostility from her, and she would need to transform before she could do any meaningful harm to him.
Kha’nes continued to observe him from close by.
‘He looks like an average human on the outside. Even his clothes are pretty ragged. I thought the thing in his pocket was a person, but I guess her outer form is a book. His stats also… I guess he’s wearing the Deceiver’s Veil?’
She couldn’t know his exact strength, but it was clear that Sungchul was not someone to take lightly.
‘I might have to fight against the Avian King, so it might not be a good idea to waste my strength on someone of this caliber.’
Kha’nes decided not to engage Sungchul in her mind. Sungchul continued to eat as Kha’nes watched.
Her voice could be heard in the midst of his meal.
“You don’t have to eat so fast. I didn’t come here to fight.”
Kha’nes’ attention shifted away from Sungchul to his food.
“What kind of recipe is this? This aroma is foreign to me.”
“It’s just normal food.”
Sungchul gulped down the rest of his noodles and began relishing the soup with a spoon.
He judged that the taste was decent, and began to slurp down the soup from the helmet. Kha’nes who was watching this felt drool unwittingly gather in her mouth.
“Hey,” she called out to Sungchul.
When Sungchul responded curtly, Kha’nes didn’t hesitate and asked her question in a lively voice.
“Can I have a taste?”
Sungchul silently downed the rest of the soup.
“That’s going too far!”
Kha’nes pouted out of annoyance, but as she did, Sungchul held something out toward her. On closer inspection, it was some fried noodles and a glass bottle filled with an unknown powder.
“If you want some, cook it yourself. It’s not my hobby to cook ramen for women I don’t know.”
He said as such before quietly opening up his coat. A golden gleam hidden within the coat blinded Kha’nes’ eyes. Her jaw dropped.
‘No way… that’s the Insignia of a High-class Chef?! And isn’t that a Gold Class as well?!’
It had been 300 years since she had last met a High-class Chef that managed to reach the Gold class. It was already hard enough in this world to meet a High-class Chef, not to mention one of Gold class, so to meet a chef of this caliber was something of a miracle. Kha’nes could feel her apathetic heart of a dragon beginning to pound with excitement as she looked back and forth between the instant fried noodles and the soup powder.
‘This looks like a type of military rations. But I haven’t seen this preservation method before. Taking noodles, an ingredient not usually found in preserved food, and frying it in oil to make it last longer is very innovative.’
She broke off an end of the instant fried noodles and placed it in her mouth. She could taste the crunchiness and the flavor of oil combined with the savory flour-based noodles in her mouth.
“This is fried with bean oil?”
Kha’nes directed her comment toward Sungchul.
‘Impressive.’ Sungchul thought, as he paid close attention to Kha’nes’s behavior. Kha’nes was investigating the soup powder inside the glass bottle at this moment. She dabbed an end of a finger onto the powder and made complicated expressions as she fell into deep thought while tasting it.
“Hmm, this is stock made from ground chicken bones with red pepper, garlic, ginger, among other things and made into a powder.”
It was incredibly accurate if not for a few missing ingredients. Sungchul acknowledged that the half-dragon in front of him possessed an incredibly sensitive palate.
When Kha’nes was about to begin cooking, he added the proper amount of water into the helmet himself.
“I’ll do it. It’s not hard.”
Everything changed as he realized the person in front of him knew proper food. It also appeared that Kha’nes knew the implications of the broach that Sungchul wore on him. Even though it was a simple dish, Sungchul did not want others to judge poorly the taste of his food.
“Oh my, how friendly.”
Kha’nes smiled lightly with her eyes as she observed him cooking. Ramen cooking couldn’t really be improved upon, and there wasn’t much work involved. He waited for the water to boil, dropped in the noodle and soup powder, and gave it a few swirls in between. Sungchul held out the finished dish to Kha’nes after 4 minutes.
Kha’nes revealed a huge smile as she pulled out the fork from within her clothes before digging in. Firm noodles that had been properly boiled were slurped through her lips. A flash of interest passed through her lizard-like eyes.
“It’s tasty. This dish.”
Sungchul turned his back toward her with his arms crossed. Kha’nes gulped down the entire bowl of ramen in a frenzy while carefully blowing on it.
“That was a great meal, Enemy of the World!”
Kha’nes patted her belly while expressing her gratitude. Sungchul peeked at her through the corner of his eyes, and he could see that she was extremely satisfied. He could feel his pride soaking into his heart as he turned back toward her.
“If you have no further business, I would appreciate it if you left this place.”
“I got it. I was about to leave anyways.”
“Aren’t you curious about my business?” Kha’nes spoke subtly while looking at his back.
‘What a talkative dragon.’
Some dragons would not open their mouth once in a thousand years, but there are those who would blather on throughout the same thousand years. Kha’nes appeared to be of the latter type.
“In truth, I was planning on heading north. There is a root of Calamity that isn’t well known yet.”
“A root of Calamity?”
Sungchul showed interest.
“That’s right. A new Calamity was recorded within the Scroll of Calamity before it disappeared.”
“Is that even possible?”
“Not normally, but if humans keep trying to forcefully stop the progression of Calamity like now, there is bound to be background noise from time to time. The calamity that had appeared momentarily might have been a consequence of that”
“May I know which Calamity that was?”
Kha’nes briefly considered Sungchul’s request before she opened her mouth to speak in a serious manner that was unlike her.
“The Final King. It is a Calamity regarding the Avian King with black wings.”
“Ah, that one.”
Her revelation took the winds out of his sails as the Calamity had already been resolved by his own hands. Sungchul’s disappointment was soon revealed on his face. Kha’nes felt perplexed at his reaction and hastily threw out a retort.
“Eh? Why are you making that face? Aren’t you interested? It’s the Calamity of the Avian King!”
“Sorry, but it wasn’t something I wanted to hear about. It seems like I’ve taken away too much of your time, so shouldn’t you get going already?”
Sungchul coldly chased her away. Kha’nes revealed several more information with a hurt expression on her face, but none of them could evoke Sungchul’s interest.
The half-dragon Kha’nes had to climb down from the hill after being treated to a bowl of ramen.
“Visit the Tower of Recluse some time. I’ll give you a good surprise if you cook some good food for me.”
“I’ll keep that in mind.”
He had been planning on visiting the Tower of Recluse in a day or two regardless. He wanted to see the change on the Scroll of Calamity himself after eliminating the Devil King Hesthnius.
After the noisy Kha’nes had departed, silence returned to the peak of Harupaya Ridge. Sungchul let the time pass while sitting by the fire.
It had been the fourth day since Sungchul situated himself on Harupaya Ridge. He could sense an unusual amount of Observer’s Eyes on him since very late last night. As morning approached, a group of magicians had moved to someplace not far away through Teleportation. Sungchul watched the approach of these unfamiliar magicians with an indifferent gaze in his seat.
The magicians were wary of Sungchul and approached him carefully. When they finally reached him, they showed him proper respect by speaking in a lower register.
“Lord of Heracles, I greet the Demolisher.”
Sungchul could immediately sense that the magician had approached him with ill intentions.
“What do you want?”
He urged the magician with a voice mixed with revulsion.
“It might be more appropriate to introduce ourselves before we get down to business. We are a part of the Followers of Calamity that you detest so much.”
The Demonic Weapon Cassandra appeared in Sungchul’s hand.
The magicians trembled slightly at the sight of the fiery whip in Sungchul’s grip, but they pressed on despite their fears.
“We have only come here to deliver a message from a certain person.”
“What? A certain person? Speak plainly.”
Cassandra moved about like an angry snake and struck a nearby boulder. The entire boulder shattered at the moment of impact and rolled off the hill in pieces.
One of the magicians visibly wavered as though the tension had overwhelmed him. Among them a person who appeared to be the eldest broke the silence with his head still bowed.
“Our master, The One who Guides the Calamity, wishes to meet you personally.”
The One who Guides the Calamity. It was a title Sungchul had never heard before, but he had heard from Elijah earlier that the Followers of Calamity now had a leader.
‘Is the person mentioned by Elijah and this guy the one and the same?’
The face of a single woman passed by Sungchul’s memories. It was the face of a blonde woman with a pale skin as white as snow and dreamlike eyes that appeared and faded like smoke.
Sungchul glared at the magicians with eyes filled with hostility. The magicians didn’t dare to meet his gaze.
“Why is that woman looking to meet me?”
“W-we cannot dare to pretend that we understand that one’s intentions. We only wish to say that that one wishes to help you. We only hope that you don’t attack her on sight…”
The magician didn’t even manage to finish his thoughts when the Demonic Weapon Cassandra had split them all in half.
The halves of every corpse rolled off the hill. He felt the metallic stench of blood brush past his nose as he turned around.
“Why don’t you start revealing yourself?”
The One that Guides the Calamity was already here. A blonde woman in a white robe appeared from behind a boulder like a mirage. The Seventh Hero Vestiare.
The Calamity-to-come revealed a cruel smile as she stepped toward Sungchul.
“As expected, you have good senses.”
Verstiare spoke with a soft smile on her face.
“Looking for an early grave?”
“You could see it that way.”
A magical formation appeared at the tip of her finger, and a single scroll appeared. This unusual scroll had a mixture of crimson and dark coloration. The scroll lifted itself into the air and floated toward Sungchul.
“I’ve heard you have been having much difficulty getting rid of the Devil King. You will be able to rid yourself of that problem much more quickly with this.”
Sungchul grabbed the scroll Vestiare had handed over, and when he did, information about the scroll appeared in his eyes.
[Scroll of Harmegedon]
Effect: Casts the Destructive Magic ‘Harmegedon’
Note: It immediately unleashes the most powerful destructive magic, ‘Harmegedon’.
Sungchul’s eyes twitched.
‘Harmegedon? Isn’t that an 8th-grade magic? I’ve heard of its name, but I never got to see it in person.’
It was unprecedented territory unexplored by any School of Magic. This kind of fortune was so simply handed to Sungchul.
“One receives greater harm from magical attacks in ethereal form. This means that it’s not strictly necessary to use Harmegedon, but isn’t there nothing better to make sure the job is done right?”
Vestiare spoke in a dream-like voice. Sungchul’s hand that held the scroll trembled slightly.
“Why are you giving me this?”
Vestiare held a faint smile at Sungchul’s question.
“Because we can only step up when the Devil King falls.”
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