‘Why did this woman turn up in a place like this?’
Sungchul didn’t show it, but he was quite startled. Sujin Lee the Regressor. They had a one of a kind meeting during their time in the Summoning Palace, but he felt that she was a dead woman walking as that was the fate that awaited all Regressors. However, the Sujin that he met now was healthy and overflowing with vitality. The attire she wore wasn’t some ragged thing for commoners, but quite a proper gear for adventurers.
“You haven’t changed one bit, have you?”
Sujin laughed with her eyes as she spoke. It appeared as though she was overjoyed to have met Sungchul.
Sungchul took a quick look at his surroundings before asking the question. He was especially careful of the dwarves as the name Sungchul was pretty much considered a taboo among them.
“What do you mean?”
“… Let’s move locations.”
Sungchul dragged Sujin with an innocent expression on her face toward one end of the barracks. At the end of the encampment, a vast expanse of wasteland could be seen past it where giant grassy tumbleweed rolled by. In this place with little human presence, Sungchul briefly asked Sujin politely about her days after their split. Sujin replied in a hushed voice after putting aside her warm smile.
“I joined the Assassin’s Guild.”
“The Assassin’s Guild…?”
The inexplicably vacant eyes of his former companion, Shamal Rajput, came to his mind.
“How did you enter the Assassin’s Guild? Those guys wouldn’t have left a Regressor alone.”
“I have my ways, but it seems that you are already aware of how Regressors are normally treated.”
Sujin retorted with a mischievous expression her face.
“I was kidding. Anyways, how are things on your end? How did you end up in this hell hole?”
Sujin quickly changed topics. Sungchul firmly pressed upon the thrashing Bertelgia to quiet her before replying with a calm voice.
“I am here to participate in the battle that holds the fate of the World at stake.”
Another smile appeared on Sujin’s lips.
“As expected you came to save the world. It surely is appropriate for the one that shares names with the one who must not be named.”
“More importantly, why are YOU here? Did the Assasin’s Guild send you to join this fight?”
“This battlefield should be too much for a Summoned who’s not even been around for a year to handle, isn’t it?”
“I’m not strictly here to fight. It’d be more appropriate to say that I’m here to test my luck.”
Sujin let out a sigh as she stared off into space.
“To test your luck?”
“That’s right. I am being tested whether the future I’ve seen is correct or not. It turns out that being a Regressor isn’t all hugs and kisses.”
“Of course. They are beings who destabilize the timeline. They must pay the cost.”
The future isn’t predetermined. The minor details that the Regressors had seen were bound to be altered. The problem was that the results were often contrary to what the Regressors had hoped for.
When their existence was discovered, the Regressors fell to a state where they were unable to impact the world in any significant way. Of course, nobody knew anything about the Regressors who came before Regression became widely known. Sungchul had a bad impression toward Regressors, and he did not trust the futures they had seen. It was for these reasons that Sungchul did not ask anything regarding the future.
Sujin who noticed his disinterest took a step closer to ask the question herself.
“Aren’t you curious? Don’t you want to know what future I’m here to test?”
“Try to guess.”
It was in this moment that Bertelgia let out another powerful struggle. Sungchul calmed her once again before opening his mouth with his eyes trained on Sujin.
“Are you predicting the results of the battle to come?”
Sujin shook her head.
“What a strange sound effect.”
“Regardless of how strange the sound was, you’re still wrong.”
“Then what are you here to test?”
Sujin took a deep breath and looked over the distance in response to Sungchul’s question. Her eyes that had been filled with joy was now filled with dark clouds of concern. She allowed a brief moment to pass before she spoke in a quiet voice followed by a sigh.
“He will appear here.”
Sungchul’s pupils turned toward Sujin, and she continued in a firm voice.
“The Enemy of the World. That is the future that I had seen, and the future that will soon come to pass.”
Sujin left it at that. She had said that Sungchul would turn into the very Calamity that ends up destroying the world. Sungchul had lightly ignored her words and forgotten about it entirely, but Sujin was testing his resolve once again on their second meeting. It wasn’t clear whether this was her intention, but Sungchul couldn’t help but feel indescribably uneasy. An uncomfortable silence continued on.
When Sungchul became silent, Sujin wore an awkward smile before speaking on vaguely.
“Well… if this doesn’t come to pass, I’ll be passed off as a cheat and be eliminated by the Assassin’s Guild. I am being watched as a result.”
Sujin looked behind her with a fleeting glance. Sungchul could feel his presence as well. It was a faint presence that had been lingering in a single location since a while back. He could feel that presence walking toward them now. It was an unwelcome presence of a familiar person that was approaching him. His face was entirely covered with a dark turban, but nothing could be hidden from Sungchul’s eyes.
‘Is it that assassin that I met back at Airfruit?’
It was the final survivor of the Almeira Family of Assassins that had fought against Sungchul during the battle of Airfruit; Kaz Almeira.
The young man who Sungchul had believed that he had split in half was wearing a distinct mantle which covered his entire arm from the shoulder.
‘I ended up allowing him to live by trying to let him die in agony.’
Whatever the reason, it was an opponent Sungchul did not wish to face. Sungchul kept his back toward the assassin as he walked forward and said,
“Let us part here.”
Sujin was not quite warmed up to Kaz as well. She quietly nodded before whispering under her breath.
“If opportunity strikes, let us meet again. I would like to eat another meal made by your hands. The people from the Assassin’s Guild have terrible palates.”
“If there is an opportunity.”
The two parted in different directions. Both of their faces didn’t look well as they walked in their individual direction, but Sungchul’s expression was a shade darker.
The man who had never once doubted himself calmed his turbulent heart as he looked out toward the dry wilderness.
The armies of the Devils appeared onto the wilderness. It was an overwhelming army that enveloped the horizon in darkness. One scouting party with a wyvern knight at the head took on the danger to gather the general information about the Devil army. According to the scouting party, the Devil army that was approaching the last line of defense of the Demon Realm frontline was nearing a hundred thousand soldiers in total. It was almost 3 times the 35 thousand soldiers gathered for the Human Allied Coalition, but even then their morale was at its peak with the desire to drive out the intruding Devils in this upcoming battle. It was because they knew that their loss would turn this land into the playground of these Devils.
Head Commander Martin Breggas chose the entrance of Trowyn, the Harupaya Ridge, to deploy his army and wait for the demons to arrive. It was an ideal topography that was easy to defend and permit supplies and reinforcements to arrive from the back. Albeit, there was no room for retreat if they lost. There were fertile farmlands, bountiful hamlets, and cities scattered just beyond Harupaya Ridge. If the ridge were to fall, the devil army would flood in like the tide and destroy everything in sight. Despite the fate of half of the continent being staked upon this moment, Martin’s thoughts wandered to something completely unrelated.
“The upcoming battle tomorrow shall be the stage for your glamorous debut. You will hold the most important role, so be brave but don’t be careless in battle.”
Martin spoke in a soft voice toward the son that held all of his affection.
“I understand, Lord Marquis.”
“I would like it if you could call me father the next time we meet.”
“I was thinking the same thing, sir.”
Martin gazed proudly at Parlim’s dependable backside as he left. It was only after Parlim had left that Martin began to stare deeply into the map of the battlefield located at the center of the barrack.
‘How should I set the stage for Parlim to really shine.’
The matter of victory was a problem, but for Martin, the most concerning matter was the portion that Parlim would play in the victory. He modified the formation of dispatch countless times and drew out the scene of the battle in his head. After several trial and error, Martin discovered the ideal deployment that would allow Parlim to display his fullest. However, it was only natural to give something up in order to gain what he wanted. He needed the sacrifice of another for his plan to work. It was up to him to choose who that sacrificial lamb would be.
Out of the countless pieces on the map of the battlefield, a single one stuck out in Martin’s eyes like magic. A satisfied smile appeared on his lips.
‘The Order of the Iron Blood Knights seem perfect. They are desperate to restore their name more than anyone else, and the more I consider it, the more ideal it seems. I get to rid myself of the roots of that Order that was a thorn in my eye, and I get to make good use of them for a final time.’
He chose to dispatch the Order of the Iron Blood Knights toward the right wing where the attack was expected to be the heaviest. The only problem was whether Sungtek would accept his request. People expected Sungtek to refuse, due to his ongoing conflict with Martin. Therefore, Martin had been working on coming up with a pretext to enforce compliance in case Sungtek caused a fuss.
Surprisingly, Sungtek relented to the order without a word in complaint. It was a peaceful resolution that no one had expected. Martin sent praise to Sungtek for the courageous decision along with a meager sum of gold as a gift, using the excuse that it was a bonus reward. That looked to be the end of the situation at hand, but that was when the real problem began.
“We no longer have anything to lose.”
Sungtek had a plan prepared in secret. He wore a complacent smile as he looked toward the wilderness to the north where the army of the devils was situated. The Demon army was now almost upon them.
In some place a short distance away from the battlefield, several individuals were watching from the darkness.
“To give such credit to the words of some Regressor. Did your skills rust after spending so much time in that dark and musky place, Shamal Rajput?”
The grating voice of an old woman tore through the stillness and rang out. It was an elderly woman who donned a deep dark blue robe adorned with specks of gold wearing a mask covered in indecipherable letters. The woman with an extraordinary presence was Aquiroa the Executor. She was someone veiled in mystery, exerting great influence in the shadows as a major force of this era as the Second Champion of the Continent. It was difficult to recognize her due to the mask, but it was plenty obvious from her voice and movement that she was anxious. Her gloved emaciated fingers pointed toward a young woman in a corner.
“Tell me, Regressor. Is it even true that the Enemy of the World will reveal himself here?”
The identity of the woman singled out by the champion was none other than Sujin Lee. She nodded her head and spoke with a firm voice without a single hesitation.
“The Enemy of the World will show up in the battle of Harupaya Ridge.”
Hearing her words, Aquiroa snorted in jest.
A man in another corner opened his mouth.
“This Regressor predicted the appearance of the Enemy of the World in Airfruit.”
It was an indifferent voice without a shred of emotion. The speaker whose vacant gray eyes seemed to merge seamlessly with the surrounding darkness, was the Fifth Champion of the Continent Shamal Rajput. He was the Leader of the Assassin’s Guild whose name was feared by everyone living.
“And, if her prediction matches up once again, we will have justification to believe this Regressor’s words.”
Shamal spoke as such and melded back into the shadows. Executor Aquiroa turned to face Ahmuge.
“Then I’ll ask this. Will Sungchul be the Calamity that destroys us?”
Sujin nodded in reply.
“That is nonsense. How can someone like Sungchul become a Calamity? I can take care of someone of that caliber all by myself. He was trying to resolve the Calamity, but even though he was cast out, he has still yet to take care of one measly Demon King.”
Each one of her words stabbed at her like daggers, but Sujin’s eyes did not falter as she withstood Aquiroa’s forceful words. Sujin looked at her directly in the eyes as she spoke in clear words.
“The Sungchul I have seen is no longer human.”
“What did you say?”
“He had become some existence in between man and deity.”
Aquiroa who had heard this was frightened out of her wits.
“You…You’re saying he became a Lesser God?!”
The man who was wordlessly standing by a corner with a sword in hand looked toward their direction. He was a well-balanced knight with a full suit of armor and a helmet that couldn’t be peered into. The world called him the Vagabond King instead of his title as the Third Champion of the Continent.
“Let us just assume Sungchul will actually appear here. What will he do next?”
The Vagabond King asked Sujin.
‘This man… is THAT Vagabond King?’
She barely managed to answer as an eerie sensation of her body being stripped naked flooded her senses.
“He kills the Demon King. Without anyone’s assistance.”
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