Swordsmen of the Empire wearing flashy uniforms were rushing in to attack Sungchul with their shiny blades in hand. However, they were laid flat onto the deck when Cassandra split the air like a fly struck down by a fly swatter. Sungchul proceeded as he walked onto the bridge of the flagship Androgoras without interference.
Dimitri sought out escape routes, but it was more difficult to escape Sungchul than it was to take one’s own life.
Sungchul stood before him as though by fate. Sungchul didn’t look happy nor upset, he instead inspected Dimitri with his indifferent eyes.
“Did you join hands with the Devil King?”
Sungchul asked bluntly. His question was extremely simple, but its simplicity was why it was to the point.
Dmitri’s eyes trembled ceaselessly. He eventually organized his chaotic thoughts and began to speak.
“If… you’re talking about a-alliances, that’s not true. We only… out of immediate necessity…”
As he continued to stumble through his explanation, he felt something hard and cold touch his neck. It was Fal Garaz. The head of Fal Garaz had been brought to his neck.
Sungchul’s intentions were clear. It was a threat against his life if he continued to speak nonsense. Sophistry: capital punishment. Long winded speeches: capital punishment. Twisting word games: capital punishment. Just when Dimitri was prepared to work his silver tongue, he had become like a rat trapped in a corner.
“W-we came to an agreement.”
Dmitri swallowed deeply before he caved in and gave out the information.
“What kind of agreement?”
“T-to stop you from reaching the Devil King…”
Sungchul, who had heard all that he wanted to hear, lowered Fal Garaz and turned back. He didn’t have any particular grievances with Dmitri anyways. The man that he had seen in Golden City was arrogant and was full of himself, but in reality, Dmitri was quite the loyal hunting dog for those elite few. He was nothing more and nothing less.
“What will you do now?”
Bertelgia brought up the question.
“I’ll just walk the path I was walking before.”
He walked to the head of the ship. Dmitri who had just been brought back from the brink of death was rubbing his own neck while looking at Sungchul’s back with a dumbfounded expression. Sungchul looked back as he arrived at the head of the ship and spoke in a clear voice.
“I’ll kill you for real if you follow me.”
Dmitri recoiled back and kept nodding his head. It was at this moment when the mission of the five fleets of the Human Empire that had been deployed to the Demon Realm for the purpose of stopping Sungchul ended in failure.
Now, the only human remaining in the Demon Realm was Sungchul. A colorful light of unknown origins lit up the dark skies beyond the endless wasteland in a mysterious light, and beyond the distant skies, some lonely screams could be heard spontaneously from time to time. A sulphuric stench clung to the tip of the nose like a shadow. That fading sulfuric stench indicated that they had entered into Demon Realm proper.
It meant that all of the one-sided ambushes he had experienced, and all those encounters that felt accidents would now become more organized. However, the divine items held in Sungchul’s hand worked to repel the ambush from the Devil Army. The Devil Lord leading an army noticed Fal Garaz in Sungchul’s hand and turned back to his castle as though his ass was on fire, shutting himself in.
Sungchul who was well versed in Devil psychology knew fully that the reason for their abrupt escape was partially due to their fear of him, but it was also to avoid taking too many losses and giving an advantage to rival demon armies. Devils were creatures of self-interest. If virtues like the likes of compassion and sympathy, respect and trust for others were to be purged from a human mind, it would leave something not too different from a demon’s.
Storm clouds and Sulfur. The skies of the Demon Realm enveloped in fog had no separate night and day. Sungchul walked at a pace that wasn’t too fast or too slow toward the Demon King’s Palace. The reason for his reasonable pace was to prepare for any potential ambush. Even worms squirm when stepped on, and a rat trapped in a corner is bound to bite the cat.
Sungchul discovered something as he was walking the wasteland. There were bamboo-like objects sticking out of the dark earth like grass. There was so much of it that it wouldn’t have been an exaggeration to call it a field of green.
However, grass doesn’t grow on the surface of the Demon Realm with the exception between some rocks or underground caverns.
Sungchul pulled out the Demon Weapon Cassandra and powerfully struck a part of the tube. When the whip made contact, the air itself seemed to tense for a moment before a bright burst of light went off, followed by a powerful explosion. That single explosion might not have affected Sungchul in the least, but it wouldn’t have been the case if the number of explosions grew. The green field that seemed to extend out to the horizon quickly disappeared in a chain of explosions. The dark earth turned bright like the day, and the world itself seemed to tremble for a few minutes.
“Uwah… There wouldn’t be any piece left of me if I was standing there.”
Bertelgia spoke in a shocked voice.
Sungchul wouldn’t have died, but Bertelgia might have been caught up in the explosion. He didn’t utter that fact.
When the explosion subsided, Sungchul began to walk the changed landscape full of craters.
“Why are you trying to stand against the Calamity?”
Bertelgia suddenly asked in the midst of their walk. It was a topic that hadn’t been discussed before as her goal had always been to lead Sungchul down the path of a Creationist, but now that they were finally drawing close to the elimination of the Demon King, she grew curious.
“Are you perhaps trying to be a hero? Trying to save the world like the Seven Heroes?”
Because Bertelgia was annoying Sungchul from the side, Sungchul replied in a calm manner.
“I’m not a hero.”
She tried to get a few more words in, but she couldn’t. Sungchul’s eyes and face grew so different than before that he was now exuding a dangerous atmosphere. It wasn’t until long after that Sungchul was no longer stiff. He looked toward the massive black rock mountain looming in the darkness. As he drew closer, the lower portion that was hidden by the horizon slowly revealed itself. The base of the mountain was carved out like the face of a Devil with two eyes and a mouth spewing red fire. It was the only Wonder carved into the drab and monotonous Demon Realm. Pandemonium. The Demon King resided here.
Sungchul spoke as he moved toward the Demon King’s Palace.
“It is to unravel the Curse of Extinction.”
She tilted her head at the sudden response.
“Didn’t you ask before? About the reason I’m facing off against the Calamity.”
“Oh.. that? You didn’t look happy about it… so I was just going to leave it be.”
“I’m telling you so that you can keep it in mind.”
Sungchul said as such before picking up his pace. His slow pace grew faster until he broke into a run. The scenery around him blew past quickly with the wind. However, the distant palace of the Demon King did not appear to be getting any closer. It was because of the massive distance between him and the palace.
The mountain in which the flaming face was carved into was simply that massive. Even if all the mountains of a nation were stacked on top of one another it still wouldn’t match its size, and the flames that was spewed out intermittently reached the clouds. Each time it happened, the clouds fired a crimson lightning bolt and sprayed a shower of water towards the ground, but the gigantic flames devoured the water before it even hit the ground.
Sungchul entered that thirsty land upon which rain never stopped. In front of him stood a mob of countless devils. It wasn’t the opportunistic soldiers of the Devil Lords, but the army of the Demon King, Hesthnius Max.
Sungchul looked toward them with indifference. Perhaps because he had already killed everyone with a reputation to their name in the previous expedition, there was no one here that appeared particularly strong.
‘I’ll end this as quickly as possible.’
Sungchul made this promise to himself as he stepped forward. When that small, but significant step touched the ground, a magic formation appeared above the Devil forces. Sungchul quickly recognized that the extremely intricate magic formation was for a long distance teleportation spell. He also knew that this wasn’t a magic technique of the Demons, but one from the humans. Beyond the magic formation, was an airship with an elegantly white body.
Sungchul’s eyes twitched.
‘That’s Procrustes. Isn’t that Aquiroa’s flagship?’
The Second Champion of the Continent Executor Aquiroa. The one responsible for turning the twelve champions away from the front of Pandemonium 8 years ago dared to show herself before Sungchul. A corner of Sungchul’s eyes ignited with flames of rage.
‘You are the one person I want to kill no matter what.’
Sungchul recalled the face of a girl who had fallen asleep, who had become like a tree. Her always-soft and blushed skin became hardened like a bark of wood, and the surface was covered in white fungus as if covered in snow.
Sungchul spoke as though spitting the words from his lips. It was filled with emotion that couldn’t be witnessed before. Bertelgia could feel, from her pocket, that his heart was beating differently than it had before. The pure white airship came out of the magic formation and stopped over the head of the Demons. An old woman wearing a robe and a mask engraved with undecipherable letters stood above the airship.
“Sungchul! Don’t you know what kind of foolish thing you are attempting right now?!”
Aquiroa spoke like she was scolding a child.
“It’s still not too late. Stop this foolish task and return. If you do so, I’ll not only spare your life but also consider restoring your name.”
At that moment, the earth let out an earsplitting cry. Fal Garaz had struck its surface.
The Devils standing in formation fell into chaos before the unexpected quakes. One of the Devils pointed toward Sungchul’s direction.
“L-look over there!”
In the direction of that Devil’s finger was Sungchul holding a boulder that was the size of a house.
Sungchul lightly lifted that boulder and struck it in the air with Fal Garaz. That massive boulder flew like a baseball and critically struck the pure white airship.
The head of the ship began to tilt to the side with that single blow, and cracks began to form all over. Aquiroa who had been standing on the airship in high spirits began to waver from the blow.
“You dumb bastard! You haven’t changed since the past!”
Aquiroa raised her hand, and two strange human-like figures appeared instantaneously behind her.
“Go! My soldiers! Restrain that foolish man from committing his foolish act!”
The two figures simply leaped down from the airship as is, and hurtled their bodies toward Sungchul. Sungchul watched the mysterious beings flying toward him.
‘What is that?’
They were existences that his collection of experiences and knowledge honed through countless battles didn’t recognize. However, there was no rule that he had to cut them any slack because he didn’t recognize them. Sungchul struck the ground with his hammer and caused countless rock fragments to fly over to the strange creatures. It might be considered a light attack, but with the god-like strength instilled within the rock fragments, they had the power to turn any living creature to rags. The fragments hit their mark, but something strange occurred as the fragments struck them. The fragments had simply pierced through their half-transparent bodies.
Sungchul’s eyes twitched.
‘Are they a type of Slime?’
Aquiroa who saw this scene began to snicker.
‘Kekeke… You were just some dumb worthless warrior. A failure who couldn’t walk the long tradition of combining sword and magic. You might have grown one aspect to an extraordinary degree, but how are you so unaware that your weakness is so glaring?’
The creatures that she had created possessed both malleability and durability that exceeded that of a Slime’s. Unless it was a particularly sharp sword of great value, it possessed perfect tolerance against blunt weapons that transmitted blunt force.
However, there had been one other who had the same line of thinking; the demon ranked second among the devils of the Demon Realm, Kant Emile. He had discarded his flesh and became Slime in an attempt to stop Sungchul’s attack. However, that level of wit was turned to dust before Sungchul’s oppressive strength.
Sungchul knocked away the persistent enemies with his hammer. It wasn’t even multiple hits. Just a single blow. In that single blow, the strange creatures literally exploded. The superior fluidity and regenerative power that it boasted had no meaning in front of Sungchul.
Aquiroa’s body momentarily stiffened.
‘That doesn’t make any sense…! It was able to endure a blow from a 700-strength level during testing…?!’
She was unaware of the true extent of Sungchul’s power.
Sungchul who had eliminated the creatures lifted the boulder once again. The target was Aquiroa’s flagship, Procrustes.
Aquiroa realized his intention and began to shout with her arms waving in the air in a panic.
“Sungchul! I have something to say! It’s very important.”
“What could you possibly have to say now?”
Sungchul made the boulder fly with Fal Garaz. The pure white airship began to shake visibly as it groaned, and one of its masts fell away as it broke.
Aquiroa spoke again up on the chaotic deck.
“I know why you’re disappointed. Aren’t you disappointed because we chose to simply delay the Calamity?”
“You know very well.”
“We weren’t trying to delay it! We were preparing another method!”
“Why are you telling me this now?”
“Because you were a nobody back then. Truthfully, weren’t you at the point where you wouldn’t have even gotten into the 13 Champions of the Continent if not for the Emperor’s backing? We didn’t want to share this information with someone like that!”
“Are you saying that you have a method now?”
Sungchul shot a cynical gaze toward Aquiroa. She felt revulsion shooting up from the tip of her toes as she nodded.
“Speak. Of that method.”
Sungchul spoke bluntly.
“I can’t say.”
Sungchul put on a bitter smile as he lowered his hammer. Aquiroa who noticed this mustered up the courage to speak again.
“And we will need a bit more time.”
It was a slip of the tongue. Something that shouldn’t have been said. Sungcuhl’s eyes spat out rays of hostility that caused goosebumps. Aquiroa visibly stumbled as she tried to recoup her mistake.
“Wait! It’s just a little bit longer. It’ll be complete in just a little more time. All we need now is time. Time!”
“Do you truly believe that you can delay the Calamity? Even if it could be delayed, how much more sacrifice can you justify? Until everyone except you lot is killed?”
Aquiroa could determine that negotiations had drawn to a close by Sungchul’s calm expression. She began to wave her two fists like mad as she screamed with her grating voice.
“Why do you go that far! Sungchul Kim!”
“That child you’re trying to save isn’t even of your blood!”
Sungchul who had heard this lowered his head to look into his pocket and spoke calmly.
“Go into the Storage for a bit.”
When Bertelgia hesitated, Sungchul spoke in an uncharacteristically soft and gentle manner.
“It won’t take that long.”
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