Sungchul dropped the book where it could easily be seen.
Bertelgia saw the book left on the ground and asked in surprise.
“Huh? What are you planning?”
“I think it’ll be good to see how this plays out.”
Sungchul left the book on the ground and hid once again into the fog hanging over the battlefield. Elijah soon arrived.
Elijah had been stumbling around the ground of the battlefield like a blind man when he suddenly broke out into a cheer.
“It’s here! It’s here!”
Only after he had hidden the Tome of High Devils beneath his cloak and fastened it to a clasp on his belt, did Elijah sigh in relief.
“I had really begun to wonder what would have happened from this point on. Really. Everything is pointless without this.”
Sophia just silently guarded her brother as she followed. The siblings immediately headed back after recovering the book. The Crusaders of Salvation were stationed below a cliff nearby; their lifeless eyes looked towards the Breggas siblings. Lacking the strength to even raise their arms, they simply stared at the siblings without saying a word. As long as the intruders were human it was fine, this was the thought shared between every member.
Sungchul roughly counted the remaining members of the Crusaders of Salvation as he gazed at them. None of the non-combatants remained and not even half of the original hundred members had survived. Most importantly, they had abandoned all of their supplies when they had faced the Deep Sea Demon. Their current state was dire and anyone could easily see that further progress was impossible. Despite all of this, Elijah ordered them to continue once again.
Several complaints rose from the group, but Elijah only dared them to leave. This led to deserters and the Crusaders of Salvation were degraded to a pitiful party that didn’t even have ten members. However, Elijah’s will wasn’t broken. He stroked the Tome of the High Devils hidden beneath his cloak and walked deeper into the Demon Realm with the few that still followed him.
Undoubtedly, they would meet countless tribulations on their path, but at the moment, they needed to pass through the Deep Sea Demon that guarded the entrance to the Demon Realm.
The small group gathered their heads and formulated a plan to sneak past the gatekeeper before he woke. The plan wasn’t even worth considering. The area surrounding the Deep Sea Demon was teeming with imps. The imps themselves were no stronger than a rabid dog, but they would charge towards anything that wasn’t a Demon and die with an earsplitting scream. In other words they were like living alarms. It could be considered impossible for the Crusaders to pass through the entrance undetected.
Sungchul went ahead of the Crusaders to where the Deep Sea Demon could be found. In order to call out the Sea Demon, he killed several of the imps that charged towards him.
With a loud bellow, the Deep Sea Demon shot up towards the surface and found itself recoiling at the sight of his guest. It was the bastard that had savagely pummeled it every week. However, Sungchul didn’t use magic this time. He pulled out Fal Garaz and struck the creature with just enough force to keep it alive. A one-sided and terrifying beating began. Only after its skull was cracked and both of its arms were broken, did the Sea Demon fall back below the surface.
Bertelgia carefully asked after witnessing Sungchul’s intense beating.
“You sure it’s not dead?”
“Deep Sea Demons are dim-witted, but they have extremely strong vitality. Their regeneration is second to none.”
Sungchul turned to look towards the south. He could see the Crusaders of Salvation bumbling about in the distance trying to walk silently like assassins. Sungchul left the area.
One of the imps discovered the Crusaders and rushed towards them.
Elijah quickly drew his blade and cut off the creature’s head. His swordplay was precise and accurate, as expected of Martin Breggas’s son, but it wasn’t quick enough stop the imp’s death throes.
Terror filled Elijah’s eyes.
“I cut through his neck directly. Where is this cry coming from?!”
The mission fell to pieces even before it could truly begin.
“Brother. Let’s retreat.”
Sophia spoke in a firm voice, but a small miracle appeared before them. Despite the imp’s terrible scream, the Deep Sea Demon did not reveal himself. Elijah was skeptical, but he pushed forward cautiously once again. Another group of imps discovered them, attacked and got annihilated. This time not just one, but several of them released their death throes as they fell to the ground and died. However, no Deep Sea Demon appeared. Elijah made a decisive decision in the face of this unexpected stroke of fortune.
“Let’s break through quickly.”
His decision was ultimately the correct one. They were able to safely pass through the territory guarded by the Deep Sea Demon. The land of fire and ice where lava flowed beyond frozen glaciers entered their sights.
“It’s the Demonic Realm. We finally made it into the Demonic Realm.”
Elijah was overcome with emotions as he took in the view of the land of the Demon Realm. The roars of demons could be heard from all directions, but he wasn’t discouraged. He stroked the book hidden beneath his cloak and pressed forward once again.
An army of Devils could be seen approaching in the distance; their marching emitted a cloud of dust behind them. Elijah and his unit hid themselves behind rocks which were as sharp as knife blades. Thankfully, the Devils did not discover them.
They continued their march in this fashion. Their progress was slow, and the sun that shone in the hazy skies of the Demon Realm had begun to set. Night was approaching. Once the sun sets, the Devils hidden behind the cover of the clouds would stretch their wings and roam the skies of the Demon Realm.
The time for the Devils of the Demon Realm, governed only by the rule ‘survival of the fittest’, had begun in earnest. The weak only existed to feed the strong or die to amuse them. Elijah and his group were quite strong among the humans, but they were nothing compared to the swarms of Devils. Human flesh and souls were popular among the Devils. There would be nothing left of them; their body and soul would be plundered by the Devils upon discovery. However, fortune smiled upon them that day.
The divine armament forged from a fragment of the sky, Fal Garaz. A man watched over them with such a fearsome weapon. An enormous face adorning a hideous smile revealed itself in the clouds. A Devil discovered the Crusaders of Salvation and dove towards them, but Sungchul noticed its actions. The Devil didn’t recognize Sungchul’s face, but it recognized the weapon in his hand. It immediately turned its gaze elsewhere and flew toward the sky once again.
Similar scenes continued to occur within the pitch black darkness of the night, and the Crusaders of Salvation were able to survive through their first night in the Demonic Realm. A problem occurred only after the sun had risen.
Sungchul lowered his guard as he chased off the final Demon with a sharp look when a short scream rang out from the camp of the Crusaders.
It was Elijah.
‘Was there a hidden Devil? It can’t be. No Devil should have been able to sneak past by me.’
Sungchul immediately headed toward the camp. The guilty party wasn’t a Devil, but a fellow human. Seven of the Crusaders were fleeing towards the south. Sungchul looked and confirmed that one of them was holding the Tome of the High Devils.
The cries of dying Elijah could be heard. Sungchul immediately headed toward the noise. Elijah had a large sword wound to his abdomen and was lying on the floor.
“Brother! Stay awake! Brother!”
Sophia performed emergency aid beside him, but she herself wasn’t faring that well. There were several cuts of various sizes along her body, and her white outfit was damp with blood.
Sungchul checked his surroundings. There was no one left but the siblings. They were thoroughly abandoned and left to die. Sungchul recalled an image of himself in the past. Elijah’s eyes turned towards him.
When Sophia heard her brother’s words, she turned her head and harshly glared at Sungchul. Sungchul took a look at Elijah’s injuries. The affected area was starting to turn black. The poison in his body was weakening him faster than the cut of his wound.
Sungchul commanded. Sophia moved aside as if she was enraptured by the authority in his voice, one that didn’t allow for defiance.
Sungchul grabbed a sharp dagger from his Soul Storage and cut open the affected area.
Blood as black as ink poured out of the wound. It was blood tainted by the poison. When Sungchul drained enough of the blood, he applied the antidote towards the injury before applying some healing salve on the affected area. It was good for the body, but it was an incredibly bitter medication that caused Elijah to scream out in terrible pain. He withstood the pain, proving his worth as a son of a Champion of the Continent. Elijah was soon able to overcome the critical juncture.
When the situation had resolved itself to a degree, Sophia opened her mouth first.
“Why are you here?”
Sungchul didn’t answer.
“What do you seek in the Demonic Realm?”
“How do you…?”
Elijah suddenly interrupted him, but Sungchul asked again with a bit more force.
“I ask again, what are you looking for here?”
His question contained that undefiable authority once again. It was at this moment that a sharp blade was held at Sungchul’s neck. It was Sophia’s blade.
“Put it away.”
Sungchul simply spoke, and Sophia found her body freezing in fear. However, she was also the offspring of the Sixth Champion. Despite the overwhelming fear, she held on. In the midst of this tension, an earsplitting cry of a monster rang out from the sky.
A gigantic bird roaming the skies had discovered a prey on the ground. Sophia who saw the massive wingspan that covered the sky in darkness was frozen in shock.
‘Could that be an Omen of Calamity?’
An Omen of Calamity was one of the most infamous creatures residing in the Demon Realm. They were known to be the most terrifying lifeform and didn’t quite belong to the realm of humanity or the Devils, and they followed above the army of Devils feasting upon human and Devil corpses alike at the end of every battle. They were a scavenger of sorts, but they were carved into the minds of every human as a terrifying symbol of the Calamity due to their incredible size and strength. That Omen of Calamity was flapping its wings as it rapidly dove toward Sungchul’s group. Sophia’s face paled in fear.
‘I can’t stop it!’
She had already lost a majority of her strength fending off the deserters. Her injuries of varying sizes were a drain on her recovery. She might be able to move out of the way to save her own neck, but she wouldn’t be able to save Elijah.
The mysterious man known as Number 34 pulled out a whip that seemed that was as black and red as a burning coal from his Soul Storage. It was a long whip that seemed to extend ten meters from a quick glance. The man pulled out the whip and swung toward the rapidly descending Omen without a moment of hesitation.
‘Idiot. How can you stop that thing with just a whip?’
All of her rationality argued that his actions were meaningless, but Sungchul’s strength defied all logic. Cassandra, the Demonic Weapon, accurately wrapped around the Omen’s neck whose talons were bared toward the ground.
The moment when the Omen tilted its head, the whip pulled it towards the ground with overwhelming force slamming it into the ground.
The Omen’s head struck the solid piece of bedrock and shattered the ground while its wings were crippled to the point where pieces of broken bone were piercing through its flesh.
Sungchul’s hand that was gripping the whip moved again. The Omen was flung towards the opposite side and it struck the ground once again.
The Omen convulsed in pain, but Sungchul was a man that knew no mercy.
‘Boom! Boom! Boom!’
With each of Sungchul’s movements, the Omen was continuously smashed onto the ground like a pog and ultimately became embedded into it with its entire body in shambles.
Sophia’s face flushed and grew a shade paler. She had lost all ability to form words in the face of this unbelievable sight that was too incredible to be believed.
‘This human… what’s his identity?’
Countless possibilities passed through her mind, but there was only one name that felt feasible. Horror filled Sophia’s eyes.
‘Could this man be…?’
The blade held in her delicate hand clattered to the floor. Finally, she managed to speak with a trembling voice.
“You… are the Enemy of the World?”
Sungchul looked directly into her eyes as he nodded.
“I am he.”
Sorry about the delay in releases this week.
We are stacked with work which is why the releases will be erratic for this week. Please give us some time as we sort a few things in our lives. Schedule should go back to normal from next week.