Sungjin took out Blood Vengeance and held it aloft.
As always, Blood Vengeance let out a sharp sound as it came out of its sheath. Sungjin anxiously moved his feet. However, at that moment an unidentifiable sound could be heard coming from the dark.
Someone shouted from behind,
Soon, unrecognizable outlandish creatures appeared from the doors; Black bodies with many appendages, like an octopus that had covered themselves in ink.
However, there were saw-like teeth attached to every appendage. Furthermore, these octopi swung their legs as if they were crazed. Sungjin moved around busily in order to avoid them.
He leapt backwards, rolled sideways, and jumped into the air. However, he could not evade everything because his attention was focused on dodging the appendage that came flying at him from the front, but he was unable to see the leg that was approaching him from behind.
Sungjin desperately swung Blood Vengeance when he felt a strange feeling curling around his leg. Though he did manage to succeed in cutting off the octopus tentacle that was crawling up his leg, he was unable to block the tentacle that was swung in front of him because of this.
An enormous tentacle struck Sungjin in the abdomen.
Sungjin let out a shout as he rolled backwards. There was a zigzagging wound on his abdomen which was caused when the teeth on the tentacle tore his flesh. Blood came oozing out of the wound. Meanwhile, as the dreaming Sungjin saw the past him, he thought,
‘… How unsightly.’
Though there were several identical tentacles that were flying towards the collapsed, bleeding past-him, the dreaming Sungjin watched without any particular worry. This was because he knew that he would not die here. He will perish during the battle against the Demon King. Regardless of whatever attacks he received from this monster, he would not die here.
‘I think someone helped out here…’
Sungjin turned his head. Ryushin appeared and wielded his spear like lightning to protect him when the past-him collapsed.
Meanwhile, Mustafa appeared and began to use healing magic on his past self.
“Close the wounds and erase the pain, Heal!”
The dreaming Sungjin nodded his head when he saw this.
‘Ahh… That’s right; this was how it went…’
The Sungjin who was stuck inside the dream was able to watch over his past self from the third person perspective as if he had become a ghost. His past self quickly rose up and charged back into the fight upon receiving Mustafa’s healing magic. The figure of himself wielding a sword with one hand was incredibly strange.
‘Back then… I had only used one sword…’
Sungjun turned his vision from the hunters that were waging war and examined the surroundings. Inside the Demon King’s castle, there were grotesque stone statues, columns wrapped with bizarre vines, and stained glass showing gruesome visions such as torture or execution.
‘… Was it like this?’
Previously, he was too focused on the raid that he did not pay attention to anything else. Since he was caught in between matters of life and death, hadn’t looked around at his surroundings. Sungjin ignored the events of the past he already knew about and instead spent his time looking around at these details.
As he did so, the hunters were beginning to win. It was only the natural progression of events; even if the people who were involved did not realize it at the time. Sungjin returned to the place where his past self was. His past self was dodging the octopus monster’s appendages when he gave a slightly embarrassing shout and cut off a tentacle.
Sungjin felt a bit ashamed.
‘What… Am I still like that?’
Regardless, the past self that was significantly slower than the current him joined forces with his allies and was barely able to stab his sword into the monster’s main body. Once the main body died, the limbs that were squirming until now began to shrink like dry ice on top of a grill and disappeared into the air. Once the fight was over, Illich looked around the area and said,
“Now the remaining time is… If we can move, we should leave as quickly as possible.”
Upon hearing those words, Hildebrandt turned his head and asked,
“Hey, is anyone hurt? Raise your hands.”
However, at that time,
Mustafa, who was at the very back, raised his hand.
“What, Mustafa were you wounded somewhere?”
“I’m not wounded. But I used all of my mana so give me some time to recover it. I need time to meditate.”
At that time, Edward also cautiously raised his hand.
“I would also like it if there was a bit of time.”
Illich glanced at Hildebrandt. Hildebrandt looked back at Illich, and the two nodded their heads. Illich pressed them as he said,
“Then quickly go meditate… We wasted too much time treating wounds in the previous resting period. If it continues like this, it looks like we’ll die to the Operator rather than to the Demon King.”
The dreaming Sungjin looked at the preaching figure of Illich.
‘… Leaving Hildebrandt aside… It’s a bit funny that I used to follow Illich’s commands. Well, though he did not really make any miscalculations…’
Sungjin felt a bit of a chill when he thought that one of the biggest trolls had led the final party.
Mustafa wordlessly dropped himself to the ground and began to use some active skill without further ado.
After Mustafa began, Edward, Nada, Hildebrandt, Shunsuke, and Araujo, every hunter who used even a little bit of magic began to recover their mana. Sungjin examined what his past self was doing.
Since Sungjin was the only one who could not use magic at all amongst the ten hunters, he had nothing to do while they were recovering their mana. Now that he looked, he was talking idly with Umkhuba.
“You flew pretty far back then. Are you okay, Sungjin?”
“It hurt a bit, but since Mister Mustafa used magic on me… What about you Umkhuba. Did you not get hit at all? In spite of all of those legs?”
“Well, I dodged everything just by moving this way and that according to my instinct pwahaha!”
It was not a particularly informative conversation. Sungjin looked away from his past self. In truth, right now, observing Edward was more important than watching himself.
He had to see just what it was that Edward did, and when he began his preparations to troll. Sungjin focused his attention on Edward as he flew over (although it technically isn’t flying) and approached him.
Edward was recovering mana with his eyes closed in a spot slightly apart from the other hunters. Sungjin watched him meditating. Edward looked so innocent with his eyes closed, that it made you wonder if there was any other person looking as pure as him.
‘But in truth that’s not the case… Ah, right… I have to see if he has that.’
Sungjin turned his head and looked at Edward’s fingers. There were rings on all ten of his fingers, but of those, it was the ‘Ring of the Great Sage’ with its blue glow that stuck out the most in Sungjin’s eyes. This was because it was also on his currently sleeping body.
‘As expected… This guy also met Ariane… and passed her test.’
In truth, Sungjin could not remember if Edward ever used the ‘Ring of the Great Sage’. This was because, at the time, he was completely ignorant when it came to magic so he simply thought, ‘they must’ve had an incredible Active Skill,’ whenever Edward or Mustafa used an impressive spell.
While Sungjin was examining Edward’s finger, a voice suddenly arose from Edward’s Operator Cube.
[Mana fully recovered to 100%.]
Afterwards, Edward opened his eyes. However, he then suddenly looked towards the dreaming Sungjin. Sungjin was incredibly alarmed.
‘Wh… What? Can he see me?’
While Sungjin was still surprised, Edward’s eyes turned back to their original position. Sungjin looked behind himself. At that moment, Mustafa was recovering mana while sitting cross-legged right behind him. It seemed that Edward was looking at Mustafa, and not Sungjin, after having completely recovered his mana.
‘… Right, he can’t see me… This body didn’t exist back then…’
While Sungjin was reassuring himself, Edward suddenly called out to his cube.
“Operator, can you take out El’tarim?”
At Edward’s words, a star-shaped item that gave off a blue light came out of the cube. Sungjin was incredibly surprised when he saw this. This was because there seemed to be the image of clouds floating around inside the bluish star.
This item was made from none other than the gem that made up the ‘Ring of the Great Sage’, the gem that the Dragon Archae’ard was searching for.
Since it was an item made from a rare gem that even Kargos barely had the chance to touch, it was not a normal item. It was an item that even he, who had perfectly cleared the raids from the beginning until now, had never seen before.
‘This… Just what…’
Sungjin took a closer look at the blue gem that had been cut into the shape of a star. However, at that time, Edward muttered as he held the star,
After which the star very briefly glowed before the light disappeared. Sungjin blinked his eyes as he examined Edward and his surroundings.
‘What was that? Just what happened?’
However, there was nothing that had changed. This included the other hunters and, of course, Edward. The other hunters did not know at all that there had been a light that shone in this corner. Of course, this included the past Sungjin who was chatting with Umkhuba.
Sungjin turned his head and looked again at Edward. He noticed that there was one thing that had changed from before. And this was none other than Edward’s expression. Edward, who had been gathering mana with a serene expression until just a moment ago, now had a subtly twisted expression with a slightly ill-feeling look in his eyes.
He threw the star inside the cube as if he were throwing away a toilet paper into a garbage can. Sungjin tilted his head.
‘What… After he used the Active Skill… He got irritated?’
However, all of a sudden, Sungjin remembered seeing that same expression on Edward. After intensely thinking about it, at the end, this expression was similar to the one that Edward wore right before the fight with the Demon King.
‘Yeah… That’s right… Then…’
Sungjin turned his head. Mustafa finished his meditation and stood up. Illich gestured with his hand when he saw this and said,
“Hey, if you’re ready, then let’s hurry up and go.”
The hunters got up from their places one by one. Including the past-him who had been chatting with Umkhuba. However, then Illich and Hildebrandt called the other hunters.
“Hey, Nada, Ryushin, and Sungjin. Come here.”
The past Sungjin approached Illich and Hildebrandt. The two began to explain the strategy to them.
“Since enemies will be approaching from all directions from here on… Ryushin, you go with Mustafa and protect him. Nada, you’re with Shunsuke.”
The people who were remaining was Sungjin and Edward.
“Sungjin, you’re with Edward.”
The dreaming Sungjin remembered everything after this.
‘It’s definitely after he said this… The Demon King shouldn’t be too far off from here?’
Having received his orders, his past self approached Edward.
“Hey Ed, they made me your guard.”
Edward replied with a slightly subdued voice,
“Really? I don’t need something like a guard, though.”
“As if… don’t be brash.”
At that time, his past self and Edward were rather friendly. The past Sungjin grinned and hit Edward on the shoulder. However, this time Edward held up his staff without saying much.
If it was according to his normal cheerful personality, then Edward would have said something in return. Having felt something was strange, his past self asked Edward,
“What’s wrong Edward, are you nervous?”
“No… It’s… Just that now everything is almost over.”
In response, his past self grinned. Not knowing that he was going to die soon, the past Sungjin said,
“That’s right. It’d be great if these tedious raids were done with already.”
At that, Edward replied tersely,
At the very front, Hildebrant and Illich had gone forwards after opening the stone door. The Demon King was waiting just a short distance past this point. The dreaming Sungjin had been watching Edward’s every movement until then. From the moment that Edward had seen that blue light, his expression had become strange and would not change back.
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