‘The answer was so close.’
Horneko’s horizontal lips opened once more. He was going to spray the acid once more.
Sungchul’s empty hand searched in the air. He was using his Soul Storage.
The pocket dimension where his hands touched were full of gold coins. They were gold that were pulled by Horneko’s ability.
‘It’s a bit of a shame but it can’t be helped.’
Sungchul opened the Soul Storage with his hands still in it.
The gold contained within began to spill out.
The glistening gold caught the rays of the sun as it fell. Like a rain of gold.
Despite monsters possessing incomparably more powerful and more durable body than ordinary humans, the reason why they were easily denigrated to the status of a prey was because they lacked high intelligence.
Horneko was no different.
He who was consumed by greed, rather than a higher level of a being by the name of a Lesser God, he was exhibiting behavior more approperiate for low class of monsters.
Sungchul watched Horneko moved as he intended without to much interest. The monster quickly positioned itself under the gold spilling out from Sungchul’s Soul Storage and was too preoccupied eating up the gold from the Bottomless Vault.
It was a twisted, cruel joke of fate.
The gold Sungchul had pillaged from the Bottomless Vault was being returned in a fashion no one could have imagined.
As he felt the very last remaining gold coin escape his Soul Storage, he flew straight down towards the centipede that was preoccupied eating the gold.
The hand holding Fal Garaz was raised up high.
Sungchul glared at Horneko’s glistening rainbow colored head as he put his god-like strength into his right hand.
[All gold belongs to me!]
Just as Horneko’s voice began to echo in his mind, Fal Garaz made impact.
It was a satisfying and heavy strike against the head of the golden centipede.
There was nothing in the world, no matter how strong of a Lesser God it had been, that could survive one proper blow from Sungchul’s god-like strike until now. But Horneko was different.
The avatar of avarice’s colossal body trembled once and withstood Sungchul’s strike.
But just because he survived one blow did not mean he could survive two.
Sungchul held onto the feelers as thick as trees with his left hand and anchored his body firmly. With a completely expressionless look, he began his merciless beating.
Bam! Bam! Bam!
There was no answer to his punishment, and punishment had the strange effect of bringing humans to their senses.
Within Sungchul’s mind, the sound of Horneko voice that he heard sounded human for the first time since the transformation.
But his cry for mercy only fed Sungchul’s sadism. Holding firm to the feelers, Sungchul did not rest his hammer.
Bam! Bam! Bam! Bam! Bam!
The rainbow colored carapace was shattered and the head was broken.
Sungchul was unmoved and continued to swing his hammer.
He did not stop until his opponent stopped breathing.
[N… No more…]
The Transcendent Senses informed Sungchul, that the Lesser God that had advented into Aege Harbor was now slain.
Once the hammer stopped, the gigantic centipede lost its magical foothold and free fell towards the ground.
Sungchul let go of the feelers and remained in the air. He watched emotionlessly as the centipede fell between the endless stream of floating isles rising from the former Aege Harbor that was in the middle of joining the ocean.
The centipede’s body disintegrated in the air as it fell.
What spilled out from the torn guts of this giant were melted gold.
The avatar of avarice that had consumed not only the gold of the Bottomless Vault but also all of Sungchul’s gold, sprayed a shower of liquified gold into the submerging Aege Harbor as it came apart.
The last words of the fallen was carried by the wind and was picked up by Sungchul’s ears.
[I am… the King of Illeboro…]
[The wealthiest of them all…]
Something shining was spotted from within the disintegrating body.
Sungchul quickly snatched it out of the air.
It was an ancient looking key. But this key contained immense possibilities.
[The key of Troimea’s Vault keeper]
Effect: Open others’ Soul Storage.
Note: The key of the god’s storage keeper. Only the most faithful and honest may possess this key.
He obtained an unbelievable item.
‘Such things exists…’
While Sungchul was awestruct by his newly obtained trophy, the golden liquid merged with the ocean and turned the ocean gold.
It was a beautiful sight, but also tragic.
“So beautiful… But it’s so beautiful that… it’s that much more tragic.”
Bertelgia said in a small voice as she watched that scene.
Sungchul nodded without a word and slowly made his descent.
But in the next moment, there was a heavy tremor. Another Earthquake.
‘How can that be? Horneko is already dead.’
Sungchul stopped his descent and paid close attention to the new tremor that was taking a hold of the Aege Harbor.
And soon the cause of the tremors made its appearance.
Something was rising up from below the surface of the golden waters of Aege Harbor.
‘A Floating Isle? No, this is something different.’
Sungchul watched as an overwhelmingly large castle or tower-like structure break through the ocean surface and rise into the air.
It did not take long for the tremors to stop.
Sungchul discovered the large structure that emerged from below the floating isles that used to be Aege Harbor and descended towards it as if pulled.
“W… What is this? I can feel a ridiculous amount of holy energies from it.”
Bertelgia trembled as she commented.
Sungchul experienced the same thing.
From the unbelievable scale of the structure, Sungchul felt both awe and incredibly small.
This was completely different from the feeling he had felt when he was close to other divine structures he had come across until now, such as the Summoning Palace or the Tower of Recluse.
Under this overwhelming building, Sungchul recalled the strangeness he had felt when he first met Horneko.
“Wait… could this be…”
Sungchul was muttering out loud. His eyes were trembling slightly.
“What’s wrong? What is it?”
Sungchul gently stroked Bertelgia as a response and replied in a steady but slightly excited voice.
“Could this be the true prize that the Order of Extinction was after?”
There was no proof. The evidence was weak.
Sungchul’s experience and intuition was preventing Sungchul from wholly beliving in the theory of his.
However, before the overwhelmingly large divine structure, all doubts and questions were blown away without a trace.
As Sungchul approached, the doors to the structure opened on its own.
As he recalled the feelings he had felt back when he saw the dead god at the top of the stairs, he read the text that appeared before him.
[Dungeon – Aegehios]
An unfathomably distant past, long forgotten and lost, there were paths to immortality the immortals did everything in their power to eliminate.
It was the moment when, after untold passage of time, it made its appearance once again into the world.
Sungchul boldly put one foot into that dungeon as he thought to himself.
‘Order of Extinction, I do not know what it is that you are after. But I shall see with my own eyes, just what is contained within this. What prize is waiting, what it is that can be obtained.’
The ones responsible for Bertelgia’s injury, Order of Extinction.
The revenge against them starts here.
‘I shall take all that can be taken and claim all that can only have one master.’
Sungchul’s eyes glistened.
Southern border of the Empire.
Close to the territories of the former allied Kingdom of High Forge.
Dozens of Airships hung in the air in formation. Boradin, the commander of the 11th Fleet, was a soldier through and through. He was looking out over the border that was enveloped in silence.
He had thought this was going to be an easy assignment.
At the time he was given his orders, he was more concerned about how to minimize collateral damage to the conquered lands without sacrificing too much time rather then achieving victory.
But perhaps it was the soldier’s senses he had developed over countless battles as one of the original members of the legendary Golden Lion Brigade under the direct command of the Emperor, that the lands that he were looking at across the border seemed to be hiding something too dangerous to approach.
“Admiral, your orders, sir.”
His second in command said as if urging him on.
And no wonder why; this was both a low difficulty mission as well as one that demanded expediance.
It was because there were fleets engaged in fierce combat with other coalition states to enforce the Empire’s demands.
In the background, the threat to the empire was becoming very real.
The miasma of death had already reached the beaches of the Eastern nations. Having been hit the hardest by both the Calamity of Colossi as well as the Miasma of Death, the easterners engaging in suspicious activities on the eastern border.
To the west and north west were the powerful nations of the Ancient Kingdom and the Elven Kingdom who were in the middle of growing their armies. According to scouts, the Sword Masters of the Ancient Kingdom were already taking action alone or in small groups.
In the midst of all this chaos, the Order of Extinction was plotting to unleash another round of devastation in the heart of the Empire, La Grange. While the Empire was beset by problems at home and abroad, the world’s most dangerous man, the Enemy of the World, arbitrarily decided to announce a session of World Parliament.
In preparation for eventualities that were soon to come, the Emperor desired the elimination of weaker enemies that posed a potential for threat later down the line.
That was how Boradin was dispatched to the border of one of the relatively weaker targets, the Kingdom of High Forge, but as explained earlier, he was getting a terrible premonition about his mission.
But even so, he had no time to waste.
He decided to put his bets on luck rather than his gut feelings and ordered the fleet to advance.
But only a few minutes into their advance,
“Unidentified potentially dangerous entities spotted at 12 o’ clock!”
The mages wearing their coned hats were casting their spells to see what this man looked like, but Boradin was faster with his binoculars in checking out who was in front of them.
It was only one individual. But this one in individual was staring down at the fleet, standing confidentially with his feet spread like he was going to take on the whole fleet on his own.
Boradin’s bad premonition continued to grow heavier.
As if to prove Boradin his concerns genuine, the man was soon consumed by black flames.
What he was watching too closely matched with the description of beings that could seriously threaten the Empire that he had been briefed by the Emperor just the day before.
‘That can’t be, that technique belongs to the Order of Extinction. How did such a weak nation like the Kingdom of High Forge …?
This was no time to think.
He immediately turned around and shouted.
“All ships! Retreat! Fall back!”
But even before his orders could reach all of his ships, a large number of magic formations appeared in the sky.
It was the formations corresponding to Meteor.
A rather ordinary spell. But more and more magic formations for Meteor kept on appearing without an end.
Boradin gulped as he beheld the terrible sight of the cloud of magic formations above them grow and completely block the view of the skies beyond.
Meteorites dropped down from above like droplets in the rain.
Under this devastating rain of death, many airships of the empire were destroyed and brought down.
The Empire’s retaliation was likewise phenomenally fierce.
The surviving ships of the fleet brought to bear the full extent of their terrifying arsenal in a counter attack. The Empire razed the capital of the small kingdom off the map in revenge.
Once the world shattering bombardments came to a halt, the only thing remaining in the fields were fire and ashes.
The few remaining survivors of both the Kingdom of High Forge and the Imperial Fleet were interrupted from their nihilistic stupor when something rose up to the sky from below ground.
This structure was far too large to have been built by human hands. In the future, it would come to be called a dungeon; a path to immortality.
Around the time Aege Harbor was annihilated, the world began to change dramatically.
There were changes taking place in other places as well.
Empty and abandoned in the aftermath of the total destruction of demons, on the inhospitable lands of the Demon Realm of fire and ice, an impossibly large gate opened up.
There were a gathering of people slowly walking out of this gate from beyond.
Barbarians, or those who visually fit the image of barbarians in attire and appearance, were taking in the sights of this new world with faces full of fear and curiosity.
There were several thousand of them… no soon their numbers multiplied to tens of thousands.
One surprising thing of note was the presence of new life.
The cries and laughters of children and babies, these beings long banished from this world remained healthy as they walked with the horde.
Someone’s voice reverberated from inside the gate.
[Thou shall listen!]
The voice carried a such holy energies it made people tremble.
The instant the voice spoke, tens of thousands of this mysterious tribe bowed towards the gate in unison.
[Spread out before you all is a new world. One that you, the chosen people, must conquer and master.]
[I shall impose two duties to you all.]
The being beyond the gate continued after a brief moment of silence.
[First is Harvest!]
[Kill any and all people of the old age. Kill them and wipe them out, and make an offering of their hearts and souls to us as sacrifice.]
The Barbarians nodded without raising their bodies. As if they had met God for the first time.
[And the other, kill a man.]
[If his location becomes known, drop everything and hunt him down.]
[His name is Sungchul Kim.]
The eyes of the barbarians glistened. Impetuous sounds of shouts and drums covered the lands demons once roamed.
The needle of the Calamity ticked one step closer.
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