Sungchul expounded on his reply a bit more.
“Specifically, by beings now referred to as the Seven Heroes.”
“What? Mere humans managed to overcome God’s Trial? Unbelievable.”
“You’re free to believe as you will, but let me just say one thing. I am stronger than all of the Seven Heroes combined, and haven’t you peered into me already? You should be more than aware of what kind of commitment I have made into this.”
Marakia didn’t admit nor deny anything. Instead, he simply waited for the aimless rage boiling inside of him to dissipate.
Time, as it had always done, calmed down the anger.
When the flames of rage inside of him pacified, Marakia spoke once again in a tired voice.
“How do you plan on overcoming the Calamity? You will not be enough to stop it on your own.”
“There are five Calamities in total. I should be able to overcome three of them on my own at the very least. “
Sungchul spoke in a calm voice as he described the Calamities looming over the world currently. The First will arrive from the Demon World. According to the Scripture of Calamity, it is prophesied that the Demon King will lead a massive army of devils never before seen in history, burning everything as they make their way south.
The Second Calamity will come from the past. The return of the Seven Heroes that overcame a Calamity of the past. The Scripture of Calamity prophesied that they will return as the enemy of mortals and spread anguish, distrust, and death across the world.
The Third Calamity will come from suspicion. The survivors of the two Calamities that have swept through the continent and turned it into a wasteland will be filled with suspicion for one another and start a war which will only conclude at everyone’s demise.
The fourth Calamity and beyond are not known. Some have spoken of the advent of the Lesser Gods or the stirring of the Dragonfolk as the Calamities to follow, but nothing had been confirmed as of yet. It was because everything after the third Calamity was blank when he saw the Scripture of Calamity last. The Scripture would update itself with new information when a Calamity progresses past a certain threshold.
“Half of the Calamities on your own? What great confidence.”
Marakia responded coldly. Sungchul continued to try to persuade him.
“It isn’t all that difficult for me. As long as the Demon King is taken care of, the rest of the Calamities will be resolved soon as well.”
However, Sungchul’s words were woefully lacking in trying to turn Marakia’s mind. Marakia snorted in laughter as he threw out a series of questions to shoot down Sungchul’s request.
“But what about the Fourth Calamity? And what if the Fifth Calamity turns out to be something that fundamentally cannot be resolved by your strength?”
Sungchul didn’t respond further. He knew that anything he would say will come off as being desperate. Marakia simply smirked and rose from his place.
“If you have nothing more to say, I’m going to go rest. I shall turn the Human Kingdoms to dust after I recover. This insult toward the Nahak will not be put to rest otherwise.”
Marakia spoke in a clear and bright voice as he leisurely walked deep into the dungeon. He would most likely keep his promise. He had already given up on his own life and had nothing more to lose.
Sungchul’s eyes were filled with concern.
‘Things that can’t be dealt with strength are such a hassle.’
In his eyes, there was only one option. He had to eliminate the suicidal Marakia by his own hands before Marakia left the dungeon. It was the worst possible outcome which nullified all the effort he had put in.
As Sungchul contemplated his soon-to-be failure, someone unexpectedly stepped up.
“Hey, you birdbrain! I have something to say!”
It was Bertelgia.
Sungchul had considered restraining Bertelgia, but vague hopes kept him taking a step back from the situation.
“Can’t you hear me? Birdbrain! I said I have something to say!”
Bertelgia continued to scream, and soon Marakia stopped his steps and turned his head slightly.
“Book. Your words are too crude. Even if you have that human guarding you by your side, it might be better to know your own place.”
Before his words were finished, a magic arrow accompanying a fearfully black feather shot toward Bertelgia. Bertelgia froze in this immediate change in circumstance, and could only watch as the magic arrow flew at her. As the arrow was about to be embedded into her body, a rough hand appeared to protect her.
Sungchul’s steely arm had protected her. The Magic Arrow managed to pierce his clothing, but when faced with his oppressive battle aura and his magic resistance, it dissipated without a trace.
Sungchul whispered to her in a low voice. Bertelgia shook her body once toward Sungchul and continued in a clear voice without a trace of fear.
“You say that you were insulted as a Nahak?”
Marakia turned around and nodded with his arms crossed.
“How can someone who places such importance on the pride of the species not look after his own kin?”
“What? My kin?”
“That’s right. Do you even know what kind of situation that the Nahaks like you are in right now?”
“What? What nonsense are you saying now?”
When Marakia let out a hollow laughter, Bertelgia broke free from Sungchul’s protective arm and spoke boldly.
“Then follow me, Proud King of Nahaks!”
She moved away from Sungchul and led the way down the dungeon.
‘This kid… she’s quite something.’
Sungchul was looking at Bertelgia’s back in a new light. He quickly followed after and escorted her down the path. Marakia didn’t look convinced, but he trotted behind as though Bertelgia’s words bothered him.
Bertelgia led Marakia to none other than the city of the Cave Elves. Looking at the dirty and damp city, Marakia frowned.
“Truly a lowly dwelling for a lowly race. I shall burn down all of these insects before I part from the Underground Kingdom.”
He said as such before letting loose a high-pitched bird cry. The clear and high-pitched cry of the Nahak rang out within the entire area causing all of the Cave Elves to tremble in terror. Some of the Cave Elves began to collapse foaming at the mouth while others started to shit themselves from where they stood.
Marakia amused himself by lifting some of the Cave Elves with psychokinesis and making them fall to their death. Bertelgia didn’t say anything as she led him to their destination.
They stood before the poultry farm. The area reeked with some unknown foul stench intermingling with the smell of rotten flesh, and Marakia tilted his head in confusion as he stood before this massive tent.
“Are you saying there is something here?”
Something entered his line of sight. It was the white feathers decorating the tent. They were smaller and much duller than his, but they were similar to the feathers he knew very well about. Marakia extended his hand and examined one of the feathers.
‘This… a Nahak’s feather…?!’
An ominous feeling crossed his mind. Marakia suddenly had a terrible thought, an unsettling premonition, as a chill crept up his spine when he looked towards the interior of the tent. Sounds of low-pitched bird cries, sounds of beaks repeatedly striking metal, and sounds of feathers ruffling could be heard. Marakia entered the tent as Sungchul and Bertelgia watched, and he finally saw it with his own eyes.
He witnessed the fallen state of the ‘proud and noble’ people of Nahak who were now being raised as livestock by what he considered an insignificant and enslaved race.
Something holding him together inside had crumbled. A horrible shriek filled with a mixture of shock and anger reverberated within the tent for quite a while before the sound of everything within the tent being torn to shreds could be heard. Soon, a different Marakia came out of the tent.
Bertelgia let out a groan.
“The spots… grew darker.”
Was it due to the shock? Marakia’s spots grew much darker. Sungchul could smell the stench of death from his body.
“How did this happen?”, asked Marakia with a shaky voice.
“Your race fell after performing the ritual held for you, and those that remained were captured by the Cave Elves and raised as animals.”
“Domesticated animals… I can’t believe it.”
At that moment, a single young Nahak crawled out of the tent. He was one of the rare blue Nahaks among the countless white feathered ones. Marakia believed it to be a sort of divine revelation. He spoke as he held the young Nahak.
“As long as I live, the Nahak will rise again and reclaim the skies.”
Marakia created an Orb of Knowledge. It was the physical manifestation of the language and the secret of the Nahaks. The orb was soon absorbed into the blue feathered chick.
The blue Nahak that had been making cries of an unintelligent animal shivered once and then looked at his surroundings with a different set of eyes. Different than before as though he had regained a bit of his intellect, but when the chick recovered its intelligence, black spots like those of poisonous mushrooms quickly spread across its body.
Sungchul muttered in a low voice.
“The moment he was freed from being a livestock and regained its intellect, the Calamity of Extinction returned without fail.”
The young Nahak whose entire body was covered in spots let out a shrill scream before it became limp in its king’s grasp. Marakia stood dumbly as he looked at the young Nahak’s corpse with eyes filled with disbelief.
“This is too cruel. Simply too…”
He couldn’t manage to finish his words. He fell to his knees with the young Nahak’s corpse in his grip.
In this moment of silence, Bertelgia spoke in a soft voice.
“They can only preserve their race as cattle…”
Sungchul moved toward the kneeling Marakia. Marakia who felt his presence looked up. His violet eyes held a single tear.
“Is this what a Calamity is?”
“This is also a Calamity.”
“That’s right. This is the true nature of a Calamity which exists to crush all hopes and leave behind only a cruel reality.”
“This is why I wish to destroy the Calamity.”
Fal Garaz appeared in Sungchul’s hand. When he swung Fal Garaz, the cloth covering the poultry farm blew away and tens of thousands of Nahaks within were revealed. When the cloth that was obstructing their vision disappeared, the young and curious beasts began to flee from the poultry farm and spread out everywhere. The white feathered Nahaks looked towards Marakia with curiosity. These Nahaks flapped their underdeveloped wings and drew closer towards him.
Marakia did not reject their touch. Instead, he rose from where he sat and extended his hand towards Sungchul.
“I will put my faith in you, human.”
Sungchul wordlessly extended his own hand and met Marakia’s. There was warmth no different than one between two humans in this grip.
“What is your name?”
Marakia finally asked.
“Sungchul Kim, eh? What a strange name. However, I don’t think I’ll be able to forget it.”
Marakia looked back toward the Nahak chicks once again before looking at Sungchul.
“I leave my people to you.”
Marakia closed his eyes. His one remaining wing covered his upper body, and soon he began to glow in a bright light. He was burning the last bit of life energy that remained in him to transform the vast power contained in his body into a single object. Marakia, who was covered in blinding light, disappeared and all that remained in his place was a large egg and a marble about the size of a fist emitting black and white energies.
Sungchul first lifted the large egg. It was a black egg. When he held it, a faint smile formed on his lips.
“I have heard a legend that some Nahaks can return to the form of an egg at the time of their death… like a phoenix.”
Bertelgia spoke beside him. Sungchul carefully placed the egg inside his Soul Storage, and lifted the orb that had been beside it.
It was an object that held Marakia’s will. Sungchul showed his respects towards Marakia by lowering his head then gripped the hand that held the Soul Inheritance tighter. When he did, the marble shattered and the power within it was absorbed into Sungchul. Messages flooded his sight in a bright light.
[Your strength is higher than the inheritance; therefore your strength did not increase.]
[Your dexterity is higher than the inheritance, therefore your dexterity did not increase.]
[Your vitality is higher than the inheritance; therefore your vitality did not increase.]
After all the messages that he had expected had flowed past, the words Sungchul was waiting for appeared.
[You will inherit the magic power within the inheritance.]
[You will inherit the intuition within the inheritance.]
When the inheritance ceremony was complete, Sungchul opened his status window. It was a status window which excluded bonus stats originating from external sources; a status screen showing only his base stats.
Strength 999+ Dexterity 853
Vitality 801 Magic Power 323
Intuition 334 Magic Resist 621
Resolve 502 Charisma 18
Magic Power and Intuition now exceeded 300. He had broken through what was commonly called the threshold of Superhuman in a single blow. Immediately a long list of things that had suddenly become possible came to mind, but Sungchul had something he had to do first.
“Look after these Nahaks. If I can’t hear the cry of Nahaks when I return to here, it will be the day that your entire race will meet extinction.”
Sungchul made his ultimatum in front of the Cave Elf elders. The Cave Elves had already experienced his godlike strength and were simply bowing their heads in agreement. Sungchul visited the poultry farm once again before he left the Underground Kingdom. In front of the poultry farm lay the remains of Marakia left behind after his death. An unwelcome guest waited for him there.
It was the Despair of the Abyss, but its actions were strange. The oozy creature stood before Marakia’s remains and simply stared at it. Sungchul observed it for a while and saw no change. The creature simply stared at the ground where Marakia had disappeared like a statue. Sungchul and Bertelgia left the scene.
“Just what was that?”
When they were at the lift heading towards the surface, Bertelgia asked the obvious question in their minds.
The salty winds of the surface were blowing with force. Hair and clothes were fluttering wildly, and Bertelgia let out a short scream before hiding her body behind Sungchul.
A ray of light pierced through the darkness and fell across Sungchul’s eyes.
Sungchul brushed aside his fallen hair and spoke in a calm voice.
“It might be someone like me.”
He could hear the familiar cries of demons off in the distance.
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