The fog lifted and the being within the tomb slowly revealed itself. The face and wings of a hawk and the torso of a human. It was an avian. Most noble of all avians, It was the King of the Nahaks. He had pitch black feathers and a shining gold beak, and he was gazing out towards the world with his piercing eyes as though he wanted to devour it all.
As he stepped down from his tomb, he looked toward Mimi who was sustaining herself precariously with two staves.
“I am Marakia. Who are you, foreigner?”
If one ignored the overwhelming pride exuding from every inch of his body, his voice actually sounded youthful. Mimi could not see what lied in front of her, but she knew she stood before the legendary and destructive existence that she had sought.
“My absolute monarch of the earth and skies.”
Mimi put both her hands together in a grovelling gesture as she spoke.
“This pathetic and insignificant Mimi Azrael of the human tribe greets you.”
Marakia tilted his head slightly to look at her.
“You are blind in both eyes.”
Marakia extended his hand filled with rings adorned with gems and brushed across her face as though stroking it.
“Ah…! Your highness!”
She suddenly realized that she could see once more and threw herself at Marakia’s feet out of gratitude.
“However, where are my servants and my people?”
“Your Highness’ servants and people… have long since disappeared.”
“What did you say?”
A small creature began to linger in the corner of his eyes. It was the white feathered baby Nahak that was feeding upon Odrias’ corpse.
“Isn’t that one of my people? He might be of low blood with his white feathers, but he is still one of my subjects nonetheless. Where are my blue feathered nobles and advisers?”
“They… have already… become extinct for the sake of raising your highness to your god-like status.”
Marakia let out a short exclamation. He thought back to the days before his long slumber, to the time when his race had flourished. The bleak moment before the Calamity came down upon them, the King and the Council had decided to bet everything they had on Marakia who was born with the black wings of legends said to be the mark of the one destined to bring salvation to their race, and committed to performing a ritual as their last act of desperation.
He was momentarily steeped in his memories.
“I see. I had fallen into an eternal slumber after that moment.”
“That’s correct, your majesty.”
Mimi adjusted her mangled legs to grovel before Marakia. She looked up towards him carefully and spoke again.
“And I have woken you from that eternal slumber despite countless dangers and obstructions.”
“Is that so? Then I suppose it is only correct to bestow upon you something appropriate.”
Marakia raised his hand, and overwhelming power gathered into it. At that moment, slow but firm footsteps could be heard from the darkness on the opposite side of the room.
It was Sungchul. Curiosity rose within Marakia’s eyes.
“Just who is that?”
Mimi desperately evaded Sungchul’s gaze as she answered his question.
“That man is one of those that did not want your majesty’s rebirth. It might be good to rid yourself of him.”
Bertelgia scoffed as though it was the most ridiculous thing she had ever heard.
“What?! Listen, lady! How can you be so ungrateful to say that we are the enemy after we saved you? Are you even human?”
Sungchul calmed Bertelgia who was buzzing about in anger with a wave of his hand, then looked toward Marakia and Mimi alternatingly and spoke calmly.
“Mimi Azrael. I have come to receive the crown as promised.”
Mimi did not give Sungchul a single glance. She continued to kneel before the Avian King and pleaded to him.
“Just look your highness. They aim for your majesty’s crown. You must not forgive such transgressions of those coveting the crown of the Nahaks with no beaks or wings.”
Marakia was barely listening to Mimi’s words. His violet eyes were focused intently on this foreigner with a strange attire composed of a dusty coat and a pair of worn out jeans.
‘This human. He is definitely not normal.’
It was at that moment when another figure leapt into the tomb.
“What is happening?! Mikhael Gilford! Odrias!”
It was the Seventh Continental Champion, Willie Gilford. He had been outside the dungeon when he heard the strange rumblings that shook the entire dungeon leading him to follow his suspicions to this place with a small group accompanying him. However, his son that he was looking for was nowhere to be found in this tomb. Instead, in the main chamber of the tomb, there was a strange young man that appeared to be from the Suicide Unit, the Exploratory Unit leader Mimi Azrael, and an avian with black feathered wings.
His eyes were locked onto Marakia. The grand outfit and decorations that surrounded the avian’s entire body, the overwhelming oppressive feeling that pushed against his entire body, and the avian’s appearance; There was only one guess that he could make.
‘Could it be? Mimi Azrael… did she awaken the Avian King? And just where is that idiot Mikhael?’
His son was nowhere to be found.
“And what is that?”
Marakia directed his question towards Mimi. She hesitated slightly but made her resolve before answering.
“That man is our enemy.”
“Lies! That person is my employee.”
Willie raised his voice as he spoke. Mimi trembled as she felt fearful of the overwhelming strength in his voice. This was what it meant to have the strength to hold the title of the Seventh Continental Champion.
Willie glared at Mimi as he questioned her.
“Mimi Azrael! Where is my son?”
As he spoke, a weak voice rang out from the wall.
“Kuu… S-save me…”
It was the voice of his subordinates trapped by the servants of the king. Willie immediately went towards the voice and split the wall with his sword. The wall split cleanly allowing the people trapped within to spill out. Mikhael was among them.
Willie quickly embraced his son’s body and shook him. Mikhael was already dead. His mind broke much earlier within the darkness to despair, causing his body to follow soon after.
Willie’s eyes lit up with intense flames, but he was also a person of great caution. He didn’t have any desire to fight with the King of the Nahaks whose strength couldn’t be determined. He quickly calculated in his mind to coordinate with the avian king for a benefit or to cut his losses and leave with his son’s body. However, he couldn’t find any leverage to use.
‘In any case, where did Odrias go? I stuck him with my son to watch over him. Where is he now?’
He looked around his surroundings and soon a single corpse abandoned in a distant corner came into his view.
Willie, whose eyes were drawn to the corpse’s face due to the familiar outfit it wore, was beyond shocked with what he saw.
His former comrade and most trusted subordinate was in the middle of being pecked to pieces by a white feathered avian chick.
Willie flipped out. Just who was Odrias to him? He was the most loyal of followers and the first to swear allegiance to Willie, of whom everyone had looked down upon for being a summoned; Odrias had fought with his back pressed against Willie’s in countless battles. It was such a tight relationship that he had stuck him with his pathetic son even after the man had retired as the boy’s mentor. It might have been more odd for him to retain his calm after seeing such a man being pitifully pecked apart by some chicken.
Willie grew furious and booted the young chick that was pecking at the corpse.
The avian bounced away like a ball until it hit the floor, then thrashed about a bit and died.
“How dare a fucking chicken try to eat my comrade’s corpse.”
It was an immediate reflex that occurred before his head had time to think. People had known him to be selfish, but he was also known to take care of his own.
But due to his actions, the previously calm burial chamber began to stir. The mood of Marakia, the King of the Nahaks, had shifted. A dark and chilly air flowed from Marakia who had been quiet and agreeable despite his title as the Last King.
“You dare kill one of my people in front of me?”
Marakia grew enraged. Mimi who had been hunched over in front of him was wearing a meaningful smile beneath him.
Willie realized that he had made a critical error, and to make matters worse, a being appeared from the shadows that he wished to never meet again. The Despair of the Abyss revealed himself as though he had been here from the beginning.
His followers who had already had their share of troubles due to the creature immediately turned their gaze away from it.
Sungchul silently looked at his surroundings. Marakia was in the center of the room, Mimi was hunched over beneath him, Willie and his followers were at the entrance, the Despair of the Abyss sat in a shaded corner while he stood in the middle of them all. All the key figures within the Underground Kingdom had gathered in one spot. When it rains it pours, and this powder keg was ready to explode.
Marakia moved first.
“Which race rules the world now?’
He coldly asked Mimi who lay at his feet. Mimi answered while still in her grovelling pose.
“Several races share dominion, but the most dominating among them… are humans.”
“Is that so?”
Marakia let out a cold laughter. His starry eyes were looking directly at Willie.
“Those that crawled the ground when we flew the skies have now become arrogant because they managed to gather some strength. To dare treat the subject of the King of Nahaks in such a manner.”
Willie began to retreat slowly but looked ready to pull out his sword anytime. Marakia who had seen this mocked him.
“Do you truly believe that you could harm a feather on my body with a cheap toy like that?”
“…It is true that I have harmed one of your subjects, but it is also true that your young subject had desecrated the corpse of my subordinate.”
Willie did not back down an inch, and the avian king broke out into laughter.
“The creatures that had once crawled on the ground as prey are now barking so indignantly. Human, I will let you experience again the fear that had since been forgotten.”
Marakia’s wings burst open. The massive magic power instilled within his black wings flooded the room, creating a suffocating atmosphere that felt ready to crumble.
“I shall leave this place and lay waste to each and every human nation and drive them towards extinction. I shall burn the unworthy to death with the flames of purification, and the human kings will be forced to watch as I devour their own livers in front of them. If I repeat this enough times, the human race may remember once more, what these black wings symbolize.”
‘Things escalated quickly’ thought Mimi as she continued to lay bowed with her head to the ground at the king’s feet. Meanwhile, Willie Gilford who was receiving the full force of the avian king’s rage with his body felt extreme terror.
‘This isn’t an opponent for me.’
What stood in front of him exuded so much oppressive strength that it relegated the Despair of the Abyss as some bystander.
‘Maybe if I gathered all 13 Continental Champions… but I can’t do this by myself.’
He had wiped clean all notions of taking the bodies of his son or his comrade with him. Survival was always first.
These thoughts were running through his mind as he clenched his sword tighter, but Marakia’s wings suddenly moved. Marakia flew up to the ceiling with a single flap, and Willie, who could see the black wings of the Nahak King, couldn’t fathom what he should do next. Soon, the air above burst into feathers and beams of black light.
‘It is similar to Glare, but not quite the same. It’s a more powerful version of Magic Arrow.’
Sungchul silently watched the two battle. Willie swung his sword to parry the projectiles or evaded them completely, but the deadly magical arrows continued to pour like rain, causing small and large cuts all over his body. His followers were long since dead within the confusion of the battle.
There was no way to retaliate for Willie. He would simply be whittled to death at his rate, and it was too much of a risk to leap toward the avian king.
‘A way… is there no way at all? Something most likely to succeed?’
One had to stake it all for an all-or-nothing fight. Willie had only involved himself when the odds were with him. This was his first fight where the odds were against him from the start. He attempted a counterattack within the baptism of countless arrows, but it was already far too late as his body was exhausted and riddled with injuries. He was struck in the abdomen with a black magic arrow, and he fell. It was his last leg.
Willie wiped his lips and tried to catch his breath. The shadow of death was looming over him.
The avian king gradually descended to end the life of the Seventh Continental Champion personally. A short staff that looked more like a pitchfork rather than a blade appeared in his hand. It was the Sceptre of the Avian King.
Marakia approached Willie who was desperately gasping for breath on the floor and raised the sceptre above him.
It was at that moment when a man appeared before them. A man that had such a small presence that everyone had forgotten him, and in his hands was a hammer. It was Sungchul.
The man that had naturally stepped in to block the avian king’s path approached Willie and spoke in a calm voice.
“Willie Gilford. Do you remember me?”
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