When a situation began to get out of hand, Sungchul always had the same answer; nip the problem at its source. As the Suicide Unit was preparing for their midnight raid, Sungchul approached Aaron.
Aaron was sitting in his chair while wiping his sword with a solemn expression on his face. He turned his gaze towards the entrance when he detected Sungchul’s presence befitting his title of Swordmaster. He then spoke in a commanding voice.
“Who is it?”
Aaron finally remembered who Sungchul was as he entered the tent.
“You… you’re that patrolman, right?”
He had completely forgotten about Sungchul. As the incident within the Underground Kingdom had been so traumatic, Aaron didn’t have the peace of mind to care for each individual incident such as those concerning a mere scout.
“Yes. What is it, Number 34?”
Sungchul kept his points brief.
“I came by the order of Willie Gilford.”
The sword clattered to the floor. Not a single drop of blood remained in Aaron’s pale face.
“W-what did you just say?”
He spoke in a trembling voice.
“Willie Gilford has sent me.”
Sungchul’s expression remained unchanged, and Aaron’s spine broke out in cold sweat.
‘Did… Willie Gilford survive?!”
He had abandoned the powerhouse of the Ancient Kingdom, Willie Gilford, to die in the Underground Kingdom. Willie was not known for mercy; he was famous for seeking revenge for even the pettiest of grudges. It was because Aaron knew Willie best that he was suffering from anxiety for a whole month in his room after returning from the Underground Kingdom.
Thankfully, there was no news from the Underground Kingdom after all this time, and so he had begun to negotiate with various factions until he finally managed to tie himself with Martin Breggas. He believed that after this mission he would be under the protection of a powerful ally who could shelter him from Willie Gilford, but the name he did not want to hear ever again was mentioned in the middle of carrying out the mission.
“W-w-why did Willie Gilford s-send you here?”
Aaron asked as he reached for his fallen sword with a trembling hand. Sungchul replied with an apathetic voice.
“He has already arrived nearby.”
Aaron let out a scream. Sungchul laughed to himself upon seeing Aaron squirm.
‘As expected. He’s deathly afraid of Willie.’
Sungchul spoke again in a softer voice towards the terrified Aaron.
“Willie spoke thusly. He has no intention of harming you but has one request. Have no fear; he only wishes to see you, immediately.”
Aaron’s eyes that were once filled with terror found hope. Relying on him for a task was equivalent to saying that he was forgiven.
Sungchul emphasized that last word. Aaron quickly sheathed his blade and rose from his seat.
“Where is he now? Willie Gilford that is…”
“He and Mikhael Gilford are currently at the seaside.”
“Is that right? I got it. I’ll head toward there now.”
Suddenly, Aaron felt a twinge of suspicion rise in his mind. How did this soldier become affiliated with Willie Gilford? The only person that was aware of his brief service under Willie Gilford was the Empath that he kept beside him. The rest were killed within the cold corridors of the Underground Kingdom. However, this was not the time to mess about with these minor details. Regardless of whether this was the truth or not, he had to investigate the matter. If not, he would forever live in agony worrying about Willie Gilford behind his back for the rest of his life.
“So where is he?”
Aaron rushed Number 34. Number 34 walked quite briskly, but to Aaron, he might as well have been walking at the pace of a tortoise.
“Run, Number 34! I’m in quite the hurry!”
Number 34 began to run. It was a fast pace, but it couldn’t possibly compare to Aaron’s. No, it is more correct to say that it shouldn’t have been possible for him to outpace Aaron. But when Aaron tried to close the distance by speeding up, Number 34 quickened even further and kept the distance the same. It was good that Number 34 was moving quickly, but something was not right.
‘Why the fuck is this kid so fast? Did he eat something unusual today?’
The two of them finally arrived at the seaside filled with rotting merfolk flesh.
A scarlet moon hung in the sky as the blood stained tide washed upon the sandy beach. Aaron looked around his surroundings. The only two people standing were Number 34 and himself. As the clouds slowly covered the moon, Aaron spoke again.
“Where is Willie Gilford?”
Number 34 turned around in reply. Something popped out of his pocket and began to fly by flapping her pages. On a closer inspection, it was a book.
‘What is this?’
As things were growing more odd, Number 34 pulled something from the air. It was a hammer with a long handle.
‘A Soul Storage?!’
As the clouds retreated, the moonlight fell upon the sand for the second time. The light shone upon the hammer revealing its full form in all its glory. All the alarms went off in Aaron’s mind as he saw the hammer.
‘I have to run.’
Someone like Willie Gilford was long since gone from his mind. The person standing before him was the Enemy of the World who made the world tremble with his name. Someone that little Willie couldn’t compare to.
Aaron, who always fought on the frontlines against mob creatures but retreated at the first sight of a powerful foe, found no way out this time. He was shoved into the sand before he managed to take three steps away from where he stood.
Aaron who was buried into the sand was then pulled out.
His face flushed as it spewed sand out from every crevice.
He prostrated himself onto the beach and begged for his life.
Sungchul looked at him apathetically for awhile before opening his mouth to speak.
“Explain everything that’s happening right now.”
Aaron followed the command to the letter. He revealed everything that he knew was occurring and will occur with no details spared. From his report, Sungchul learned two things: the internal struggles within the Breggas household and the situation regarding Elijah Breggas. It appeared that Martin wanted to make his bastard son his heir, and when he pressured Elijah, it was said that Elijah turned to the Followers of Calamity. The personal accounts of each side weren’t known, but the rumor is that Elijah met with the head of the Followers of Calamity.
“The leader of the Followers of Calamity?”
This was the first time Sungchul had heard of this. The Followers of Calamity was a sporadic movement from its conception, and their organizational structure didn’t allow for a leader. Grand Mage Balzark, the man who Sungchul killed a while back, might have held enough importance to be called the center of the movement, but other than him, there wasn’t anyone worthy of being called the leader.
‘I will have to talk to Elijah directly about this one.’
A cold light appeared in Sungchul’s eyes. Aaron who was still prostrated before him continued to pour out his heart in a pathetic voice.
“Yes. This expedition into the Demon Realm was requested by Elijah Breggas, who had come in contact with the Followers of Calamity, of Martin Breggas. There definitely is some kind of scheme in play here. It was why Lord Martin left the disposal of this problem to me.”
Sungchul began to fidget with the handle of the hammer as he lorded over Aaron. Aaron’s heart trembled at even the slightest movement of the shadow drawn by Fal Garaz. He tactfully gauged the mood as he carefully spoke once again.
“T-that is all I know, Destroyer.”
Sungchul gave Aaron a frosty glare. The man was vile and selfish, but he had his uses.
Sungchul chose to keep him alive for now.
“Cease the attack on the Crusaders of Salvation.”
Aaron showed some resistance, and so Sungchul pulled out a box filled with various gems, gold and silver treasures before him.
Treasures that he might have never seen in his life was laid out before him. His eyes grew wide.
“I heard that you were chased out of the Ancient Kingdom on bad terms. Is that true?”
Sungchul asked in a low voice. Aaron lowered his head and replied.
“That’s correct, sir.”
“Can you return to the Ancient Kingdom with this?”
Anything was possible with this amount of wealth. It was enough to restore his place within the Ancient Kingdom as he truly wanted. The wealth that laid before him was enough to make even the worst of enemies into the best of friends.
Sungchul watched Aaron’s constantly changing reactions with a cold gaze.
“Also, Willie Gilford that you were so deathly afraid of died in the Underground Kingdom.”
“W-Was it done by the hands of Sir Destroyer?”
“I didn’t lay a finger on him, but he did die.”
A brief expression of relief passed over Aaron’s face. The greatest obstacle in his path had disappeared. Aaron finally had to weigh his options. The answer was clear.
“This Genghis Aaron shall follow the will of the Destroyer.”
The situation drew to a close with this. Aaron ceased the attack on the Crusaders of Salvation and withdrew his troops. The men who were excited at the prospects of plunder began to complain, but Aaron paid them no mind.
“That person. Is it ok like this? Shouldn’t we get a covenant out of him or something? He might blab to someone that you’re here.”
Bertelgia made her concerns known, but Sungchul looked indifferent.
“We don’t have to worry. He won’t say anything even at the cost of his life.”
If the truth that he has had dealings with the Enemy of the World was revealed, then Aaron would be finished anyways. It was unlikely that this truth would ever be leaked except as a very last resort.
Sungchul looked over at the retreating soldiers dispassionately.
‘It looks like there’s no reason for me to stick around here any longer.’
He had stayed as long as he wanted and accomplished a fair bit. He wanted to say farewell to his squadmates with whom he had spent time with, but in the end, all of that felt meaningless to Sungchul who had tossed aside the world. Sending the Suicide Unit back was the most he could do for them. Sungchul’s eyes were now set on the other side where the Crusaders of Salvation were camped.
When the sun rose, the Crusaders of Salvation planned to resume their journey towards the Demon Realm. Sungchul and Bertelgia followed their tracks from a distance. They crossed the crimson desert after a quarter of the day and arrived at a belt of sunken rocks and glaciers.
The Entrance to the Demon Realm: It was the invasion path of the Devils. Tension rose within the Crusaders of Salvation. They could face the great armies of the Devils at any moment.
However, there was a well-known gatekeeper to the entrance of the Demon Realm; the Deep Sea Demon.
The monster that Sungchul had used to practice his magic on a weekly basis had heard the marching of the Crusaders of Salvation and emerged from the ground to intimidate the army. This creature was nothing more than a training dummy for Sungchul, but it was a formidable enemy to the Crusaders.
‘Should I see how they handle this?’
Sungchul watched the confrontation between the Deep Sea Demon and the Crusaders of Salvation from afar, but it turned out to be a disappointment. The Crusaders couldn’t even properly fight with the creature before their morale broke and they routed. It was an indescribably pitiful defeat.
The Crusaders of Salvation had, as a result, lost a considerable amount of servants and supplies, but their tribulations were yet to end. An army of demons appeared before them after having barely managed to escape from the Deep Sea Demon. They were cavalry units riding on Helldogs. The Crusaders might have been able to defeat this foe effortlessly, but that would have been the case before they met the Deep Sea Demon.
Countless members of the Crusaders were torn apart by the Helldogs and lost their lives to the serrated blades of the demon soldiers.
“Everyone! To positions! Maintain your formation!”
Elijah flailed about trying to maintain order as the demon cavalry weaved through their formation with ease, but it was to no avail. He would have long since become a cold body had it not been for Sophia who vigilantly protected his side.
‘It looks like they’re having a hard time avoiding complete destruction.’
Sungchul couldn’t stand it much longer and stepped in himself. He suddenly appeared behind the leader of the demons that was directing the troops and snapped his neck with his powerful grip. When the devils saw their leader be instantly killed by a monstrous stranger who appeared out of nowhere, only one name popped into their head as they fled in panic.
“It’s the Destroyer! The Destroyer is here!”
The demon cavalry ceased their attacks and scattered as they ran. Sungchul leisurely approached where the Crusaders of Salvation had been earlier. There were bodies of Helldogs, demons, and Crusaders strewn about the battlefield. He couldn’t find any of the surviving Crusaders, but there were scattered prints stretched out towards the south.
‘It looks like they used the moment when I killed the demon to retreat.’
Regardless how chaotic the battle had seemed, it was the eldest son of Martin Breggas of the Continental Champions. There was no way the boy would die here. As he began to contemplate such thoughts, something caught his attention.
“Hm? What’s that?”
As Sungchul continued his path between the corpses, Bertelgia popped out of her pocket to speak. Sungchul turned his head to notice that Bertelgia was hovering over a specific point on the ground. A single book laid under her. It was bound in dark red leather colored like blood and had an ominous presence.
“This thing here. This. thing. It smells really evil?”
Sungchul nodded as he noticed the book.
“It definitely isn’t a normal book.”
Sungchul bent his knee to take a second look at it. When his fingers touched the book, its texture felt familiar.
‘It was bound with human leather.’
The book looked appropriate for demons to use. Sungchul held it and activated Inspection. Information on the book appeared before him.
[Tome of the High Devil: Volume 7]
Grade : Epic
Type : Equipment – Book
Effect : On Equip – Increases Magic Power 20 / Vitality 20
Note : Those who wish to obtain the power of the High Devil must open the tome before
The Altar of Ten Thousand Demons.
Restriction : Mage-related Class
It had low stats considering its grade as an Epic item, and it didn’t even have any additional effects. However, something within the information screen couldn’t be overlooked.
‘Power of the High Devil?’
As he reflected on this new information, he sensed the desperate steps of people approaching. Not before long their voices could be heard.
“Brother. This place is dangerous! Let’s go back, please?”
It was Sophia’s voice. Sungchul hid within the fog hanging over the battlefield and quietly observed them. He soon heard another voice.
“We have to find that book! All of our efforts will be for nothing without the book!”
It was Elijah’s voice. He was crawling along the ground with bloodshot eyes searching the battlefield.
Sungchul looked at the book bound with human skin in his hand.
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