Mo Ke was lying there unconscious, the nether flames had completely drained him. After the death of the boss imp, the opposing devils lost their will to fight.
After the battle, One-eye recruited all the remaining imps and took count of the survivors. They had 50 large imps left from their side while the defenders had 62 large imps left, bringing the count to 112. As for the small imps, they had 214 small imps left while the defenders had 547 left, bringing the count to 761 small imps.
Outside of these numbers, everyone else was dead. The entire battle had lasted over ten hours. By now, the blood sea risen to the third step. In another hour, even the stairs would be engulfed, by then, there would be nothing left of this level.
“Alright, since you guys have agreed to serve me, you are now subordinates of the Master. Listen up, move aside and let us pass through the entrance first.”
The chain of command among lower ranked devils was very simple. After the strongest was determined, you either served or died. As such, One-eye wasn’t afraid of them being rebellious. After giving that command, he ordered the army under him to pass through.
As expected, the subjugated devils obeyed his orders and stepped aside. However, there seemed to be a problem with their own side.
As he was about to lead the army through the entrance, he noticed Big 1 approaching the unconscious body of Mo Ke. He immediately rushed to block Big 1. With a forceful shove to Big 1’s chest, he separated the two even further. “Stand aside, keep your filthy hands away from our master’s sacred body!”
“What’s the meaning of this? Master is unconscious and this lordship is going to evacuate him out of here!” The slightly disfigured Big 1 angrily rebuked him. Half his face had been damaged by the head imp and had only just started healing.
He wanted to be the one to carry Mo Ke through the entrance but was interrupted by One-eye. Regarding his former commander, Big 1 had always kept a wary attitude towards him; even while under his lead. He had always seen One-eye as a rival. “Don’t think this one doesn’t know, the reason why you’ve stopped this lordship is because you want to carry Master yourself!”
Having his intentions revealed publicly made him cough awkwardly. “Ahem, I’m not opposed to carrying Master.”
“Go and die! This might be the only chance this lordship will ever get to carry Master. This one won’t give this chance up no matter what!”
“Let my Big brother do it!” Nine-finger suddenly butted into the argument, his intention, to help One-eye secure the chance. Under One-eye’s grateful gaze, he leaned in and whispered: “Big brother, I’ll help you this time, but the next time such a chance comes up you’ve gotta let me hug Master. I’m counting on you!”
One-eye : “…Go kill yourself!”
One-eye slapped his subordinate on the back of his head, causing him to fall. However, the cunning Nine-finger made use of this opportunity to fall towards Mo Ke which meant as long as his ruse succeeded, Mo Ke would be within arm’s reach.
“If you are going to fall, do it in another direction. This lordship will protect the Master’s innocence to his dying breath!” His plan was immediately seen through by Big 1 who sent him flying off in another direction.
It’s not like he will get pregnant from being touched…
One-eye was was pretty apathetic about his cunning subordinate getting kicked, and even muttered: “Serves you right.”
At this moment, a seemingly bored looking No.5 yawned and casually walked towards Mo Ke. His plan was simple, approach Mo Ke by acting nonchalant. The two large imps were in the midst of a heated argument and naturally did not notice his ulterior motives. However, just as his fingers were about to touch Mo Ke, a large hand reached out and grabbed his neck.
“Do you think that innocent act would fool me?” With a swing of his arm, No.3 threw No.5 away from Mo Ke. “Hmph, you’re still too inexperienced to trick me.”
With No.2 dead, No.3 was now the earliest member of Mo Ke’s team. He was essentially a founding elder of the team. By now, the two large imps had noticed the ruckus and turned over to face their scheming comrades. They asked simultaneously: “No.3 between this lordship and that fellow, who do you choose to help?”
“Help?” He snorted derisively and chuckled: “Naturally, I’ll choose to help myself. None of you have the right to approach the Master’s sacred body. The only one who has this right is me. Among the devils present, I’m the one who joined the Master the earliest and had also contributed the most! Naturally the honors should go to me.”
“No way!” x4
Soon, the five named imps got into a stupidly heated argument that nearly ended in a fist fight.
“If you guys aren’t able to decide on a candidate, I’ll be happy to volunteer myself.” Seeing Mo Ke’s defenseless form on the ground, Scar-face’s heart thumped. Having just recovered from his arm injuries, he was also able to participate in this sacred duty.
“Go die in a remote corner!” x5
“The blood tide is going to reach this level soon, if we don’t leave now, it will be too late. I don’t feel like dying yet so I’ll leave you guys to your nonsense. Farewell.” As he left those words behind, Scar-face brought his 10 remaining large imps with him through the entrance, his small imps were nothing more than corpses now.
Scar-face’s sudden departure seemed to have ended the argument between the five large imps. By now the water had risen to the fifth step, if they dawdled any longer, they might not make it. Unlike Scar-face’s smaller army, their side was significantly larger, and definitely needed more time to pass through the entrance. The imps collectively sighed at this grim reality.
They knew that if Mo Ke were to wake up and find that their numbers had dwindled because of their incessant fighting, he would be very upset at them. In order to spare him anymore troubles, the large imps quickly came to a decision.
“This lordship feels that we should get a female devil to carry the Master.”
“I guess this is the only way.”
With this, the curtains fell on the grand battle of stupidity.
“Hurry, the blood tide is reaching this level!”
No.3 and the rest led the remaining devils through the mysterious abyss in front of them known as the entrance to the upper level. As No.3 stepped into the pitch black dark mouth carved onto the cliff, he saw a flight of stairs formed out of stacked platforms. The vastness of his surroundings gave him the feeling of a mysterious dimension rather than a narrow tunnel. After carefully making his way up the stairs for a minute, he finally reached the last platform. With a step forward, he crossed into a new world.
From the outside, it looked like No.3 had emerged from a dark hole in the ground.
The new world’s environment surprised him. He had on multiple occasions wondered what the upper level was like. Did it have fiery volcanoes spitting magma into the air or rivers of magma raking through the earth? Would the air be filled with a perpetual sulfurous smell as a result? What he did not expect as he took the first breath of this world, was the deathly chillness in the air.
The deathly cold air pierced his skin as he looked around. The ground was no longer the familiar reddish black, but was now mostly black with a tinge of green and a frosty white.
The world outside the entrance was just as devoid of life as it was within. It was a desolate world without any traces of life. As No.3 stood there in shock, One-eye stepped out of the entrance and looked around in wonder, a visible excitement apparent in his expression.
“We’ve left the blood sea…we survived…”
After another ten minutes, the rest of the devils had crossed into the new world as well. They made camp on a high ground nearby. By now, everyone was thoroughly exhausted due to the grueling 12 hour battle atop the stairs. Over 10,000 devils had fought in that battle, and now there were less than 1,000 devils left alive. Calling it a blood bath would be an understatement.
With the female devil looking after Mo Ke, everyone could rest at ease. At the side, One-eye and the other named imps were having an idle discussion about how idiotic the head imp was. Anyone with a shred of intelligence would’ve realized that if he didn’t blockade the entrance, those 10,000 devils could’ve have all passed through in peace. Was there even a point in forcing such a confrontation?
Just as they were having fun badmouthing the head imp, the ground shook. It was as if a rampaging army of cavalrymen was passing through at this moment. Then, out of the black hole they climbed out of, a small imp corpse flew out of it. Then a second came out…a third…a fourth…13th…100th…1,000th…2,000…
Small imps, large imps, all those who had died in the previous level were spit out of that black hole in a bloody rain of corpses…
Western Human Realms, Tarnia Kingdom…
Nicole had just finished a day of training and was on her back to her private accommodations. Her sweat soaked white training outfit stuck to her body as she walked, showing off her developing 13 year old figure. She was still the pure and beautiful ponytailed girl from Mo Ke’s memory.
As a result of Mo Ke’s influence, Nicole chose the sword and shield as her main focus. Having spent half a year in the school, she had gotten used to the simple lifestyle here. It was a life filled with training and even more training. She trained as hard as she could, hoping to get stronger; strong enough to find Mo Ke. Even though in heart she knew Mo Ke could already be dead, but human beings needed goals in their life, and she was no exception. Even if that goal seemed to be nearly impossible.
From time to time, she would receive a letter from Roscar. It detailed his current situation and endeavors. He had set up a mercenary company recently. However, it was only a small company of 10 men.
The goal was to gather information on Mo Ke while carrying out missions to gain money. He would also frequent the slave markets and arenas of the cities he passed by. As long as he heard that a teenager was taking part in an arena match, or that one was being sold, he would rush over to check it out no matter how busy he was. However, his efforts were doomed to be in vain.
He was furiously training himself as well by taking on the most dangerous of missions in order to push himself to the limit.
As she returned to her assigned villa, she changed into a set of casual clothes. Just as she finished doing so, she heard a knock on the door.
“Nicole, if you are in there, could you open up for a moment?”
It was Sares’s voice. She hesitated a while before deciding to open it in the end.
“What’s the matter Sares?”
She stood at the door, with no intention of letting him in. She silently gazed at the golden haired youth wearing a dazzling smile on his face. He used to be like a big brother to her; a radiant figure in her life. But after Mo Ke left, she felt a certain hollowness in her heart. This wasn’t love. She knew that.
“I guessed that you were done with training and came to visit.” Nicole’s obvious rejection made him upset. He knew why Nicole was so opposed to his advances; it was Mo Ke’s departure. He had already guessed that Mo Ke had left home because of him. He was actually really fond of this mischievous little brother but in the end…
“Oh, that’s right. Here’s a letter from Uncle Roscar.” Just as the letter left his pocket, it was immediately snatched up by Nicole.
Nicole blazed through the letter and it wasn’t long before she was done with it. She closed her eyes as she collapsed slightly onto the doorframe beside her, the weariness apparent in her demeanor.
“…” Silence was his answer as Nicole leaned against the doorframe with her eyes closed.
“…it’s not your fault…” She opened her eyes and found that the usually smiling youth was no longer smiling, but had his head lowered in a downcast expression.
That’s right, it wasn’t Sares’s fault. Nobody could’ve predicted that Mo Ke would get so jealous that he would leave home. Sares was merely a scapegoat for their anger.
“That’s right, did you manage to find the wallet you lost?”
A while ago, Nicole had lost her wallet. To Nicole, that wallet was nothing. There was no money inside, but it held a very important item within.
“Nope…it should’ve been lost outside the school…I made some purchases outside. After returning to school…it was gone…”
“That…was it really important?”
“Yes…it was Mo Ke’s stuff.”
“Oh, is that so.”
Sares helplessly sighed once more. Ever since Mo Ke left, the mere mention of his name sent Nicole into a state of depression.
Perhaps he had finally had enough of this gloomy mood as Sares decided to bid her farewell without even entering the villa. “Nicole, since you’ve received the letter, I’ll head back first. As for your wallet, I’ll try to find it for you. Perhaps I might have better luck.”
“Then…I’ll leave this matter to you…”