“W-wait! I will help you take revenge! W-we can make a pact! I can even become your familiar for nothing! Stop!”
The spirit which took the form of Jianhua begged him in panic, trying to tempt him in a way or another.
“You did enough, now pay your price.” → Jian
Lighting struck Jian’s sword and with incredible speed he swung his sword downwards, sending forth a lighting-wave which destroyed the bushes and trees in the way, then crashed violently on the mountain in front, almost cutting it into two. The spirit was completely purified and disappeared even before the entire wave could reach it, the strong light being enough for it. The entire zone where Jian stood has been purified by the strong lighting skill he used, pure air finally filling the area 100m around.
In front of Jian, a long and deep crack on the ground remained, ending up on the huge cut on the mountain, smoke still rising from the rocky wound.
… What did I say… Even if I were to kill her, it won’t make me feel any better. → Jian
Jian shook his head and wished to leave when he heard someone call for him again. He looked back and this time he was sure they weren’t spirits.
“King Jian? How come you’re here?” → Leorio
The leader of the elites, Leorio, appeared from the other side of the remaining woods which still stood tall around the bald mountains. He looked at the destruction Jian created and asked a little bit shocked.
“W-just what happened here, sir?” → Leorio
“Sir Leorio… And Sir Yuri?” → Jian
Behind Leorio, Yuri stepped out with a confused face, the same as Leorio. He saw a great storm swirling through these parts then a great lightning strike lightened up the mountains just as they wished to enter inside the valley.
“I was just training on my own. The training ground seems a little bit too unstable to resist my skills. But how about sirs Leorio and Yuri? Is it perhaps the same reason?” → Jian
“King Jian, we are here because Mister Yuri detected an evil wind blowing from these parts. May we know if his highness discovered something resembling an evil spirit?” → Leorio
Leorio asked in a polite manner. Even though fallen, Jian was still a king worthy of his name. Leorio and his group were able to hear a lot of stories about Shen, Bururiba, and Jian from the pirates and Jian’s subordinates, while from the residents, information about the two lords, their wives, and the closest aides. Even though they all answered his questions with loose mouths, Leorio understood that everything he found was stories which didn’t hurt the Antara Kingdom with anything if known by outsiders. Acquiring such ridiculous power and knowledge from the start, Antara Kingdom was bound to grow into a colossal country in the future, worthy of staying in the middle of the three continents.
Hearing his question, Jian pointed at the melting or still-burning white corpses.
“Just a few ghouls, foul-mouthed spirits, and weird globs of red and blue light. I already got rid of them if you’re still searching.” → Jian
“So they appeared already…” → Yuri
Yuri frowned in concern then stared around with his soul-eyes. He was able to find lots of wrathful spirits everywhere around, devouring each other and gaining more and more power, wishing to materialize and then devour the corpses so they could gain even more strength.
“This place must be purified or it will turn into a dungeon.” → Yuri
Yuri said while closing his eyes and focusing his powers of the light element.
“Dungeon? Here?” → Jian
Jian asked surprised. He never knew how dungeons were formed and neither how a true one really looked like. Hearing one would appear here made him look around somewhat confused.
“A dungeon is in general something like a nest of foul spirits from where demonic beasts appear which then devour anything that contains a grain of chi or mana, only so they could grow stronger. Uncleaned places where a mass-killing just took place is also a perfect spot for such dungeons. And this place might turn into the biggest dungeon I saw yet to appear.” → Yuri
Yuri observed how the foul spirits swarmed the entire valley of more than 1-kilometer radius. However, around Jian, the air and mana were completely clean with no polluted mana.
“Oh? What kind of training has his highness done here? I can see that there are no impurities around you, sire.” → Yuri
Jian looked around then back at Yuri with a complicated expression.
“Please don’t make me do that again. I have enough ki to do so only 3 more times.” → Jian
Jian said while pointing at the mountain which was cut in two.
“Oh… I-it’s fine, I will do it then, no problem.” → Yuri
Yuri smiled wryly then took out his wooden staff. His green eyes shone, while a golden light enveloped his entire body. He slammed the staff on the ground then a shockwave shot out everywhere around.
“[Limit Break], [Purifying Area]”
« Mana: 140,000 »
For an area of 500 meters around, the air was purified while the ground cleansed. Most of the rotten corpses turned into dust, the foul smell and blood-mist dispersed while the miasma vanished without a trace. All that remained were just a few traces of blood which were slowly cleaned by the falling snow melting on the rocks.
“Fuu~… This was tiring…” → Yuri
Both Leorio and Jian remained stunned at the mass-purification made by Yuri, but after a little while both of them regained composure and sat down for a conversation. While talking about different subjects, Jian heard something he couldn’t simply pass by so he asked again.
“So you’re telling me you first appeared in front of the Vestria Emperor?” → Jian
Jian Tian asked while looking intently at Yuri who had an awkward smile on.
“Well, I’m not too sure of what happened there myself.” → Yuri
“They made you a hero to fight for the Vestria, right?” → Jian
“I-I think? Well. Let me get this from the very beginning.” → Yuri
Yuri then thought for a while as to remember the entire event that happened at that time, then he opened his mouth, narrating with a calm voice.
“You already know that players were summoned into this world through a message, right? It happened the same to me. However, when I appeared into this world, unlike everyone else who appeared in random places, I was summoned at a temple inside the Vestria’s main Palace. I was welcomed by priests, royal guards and even by a princess and a prince. They told me about the war between Vestria and Nostrung, asking me to fight for them and end the thousands of years-old war. Their explanation had a lot of holes and left me with dozens of unanswered questions: ‘What did the war start for?’, ‘For what are they still fighting and why? Is it the same reason as in the past? Or something else entirely?’, ‘How come it took thousands of years of war until they finally started to do something about it?’, ‘Why ask an otherworlder who’s not much different from them to end a war they were unable to do so for thousands of years?’ All of these questions weren’t answered, simply brushed off with ‘Just please help us.’. In the end, I thought of trying to help them. But not to conquer Nostrung, but to make peace with them. I tried to research more about the deeper meaning of the war, to search for the main reasons and such. But when I imparted my thoughts to the Emperor, he simply said ‘If you’re unable to help us, then you are free to go.’ After this, I’ve simply been kicked out from the capital and replaced with other players who now are equipped with the title of Heroes, being used by the emperor and his subordinates…” → Yuri
Yuri shook his head while feeling pity for the actual heroes. He tried to explain but none heard him, calling him ‘fake hero’ or ‘coward’ for declining the emperor.
“I see… But how did you become the representative of Victoria Kingdom after being kicked out?” → Jian
Jian continued his questions, quite interested in his story.
“Ah… After being kicked out, I started to understand some more about the rules of this world; about how we players have special abilities like Status or Inventory, and how we can use spells or skills without necessarily understanding them. As the grandson of a monk and exorcist from my world, I found out that all the spiritual incantations and sigils my grandfather taught me, here have an effect of more than one hundred times stronger. Being a Soul Seer, I was able to see the elements, the energies and the mana flowing around. It was magical, and it still is! I learned a lot by studying it on my own, combining it with the knowledge from my grandfather and reaching new forms of spells, magic circles, and incantations. After I learned about the Danger Zone Eihwaz, I wanted to understand more about this dark and impure energy which comes from it. However, while I was traveling on my own toward the borders, I found a fancy carriage attacked by demonic beasts. With my new-found spells and powers, I was able to put the beasts on the run while saving the ones inside it at the same time. It happened that the one who was inside the carriage was Queen Lorana herself, at that time still a Princess, returning to the capital after hearing the news of the former queen. After that, she asked me to be her personal guard. I didn’t really have anything better to do so I accepted anyway. Then~… things happened and I reached the rank of an external representative.” → Yuri
Yuri scratched his head awkwardly, feeling like the queen might have rushed on her decision too fast.
“Things?” → Jian
Jian was confused but then Leorio answered with a meaningful smile.
“Basically, Yuri showed to be such an able and trustworthy man, the queen greatly admired him to make him her right-hand man. I suppose Mister Tian already knows about the political struggles inside the Victoria Kingdom, yes? Well, with Yuri’s aid we were able to detect more than 30 nobles of higher or lower ranks who had thoughts of rebelling. Now they are under high surveillance, their every move being noted down by our spies.” → Leorio
“Oh~ If only I had such a great person by my side as well.” → Jian
Jian sighed in admiration while Leorio’s pride rose sky-high. Only Yuri felt a little bit troubled so he tried to change the subject as quick as possible.
“S-sir Tian. I’m also curious about your story and how come you’re with Lord Shen and King Ryu. Even though I heard some things from the others, I’m still missing in details.” → Yuri
“Ah? Well, it might take a while.” → Jian
“By all means, I’m really curious.” → Yuri
Seeing the both of them so curious, Tian thought that it might do no harm in telling them their story, knowing that Yuri already told his.
While Jian was talking with Yuri and Leorio outside the kingdom’s walls, Bururiba finally made Khalid sit down with him at a table inside the cafeteria. Everyone was happily chatting and discussing the latest events, but if anyone were to get closer to their table, a gloomy pressure would make them distance themselves.
“…Is Captain Bururiba alright there?”
A human pirate asked while seeing both of them keeping quiet for a while now.
“I don’t know, I never saw that wolf-kid before. Is he that brat he said he lost, Khalid? Didn’t he say he was a human? I only see a wolf beast-man”
Another mice-man pirate questioned back, as confused as his companion.
“Wow, who is that captain? Khalid seems even madder than before. Do you guys know something?”
A warrior of the Antara asked after seeing the two of them staring at a quite empty table in the corner of the cafeteria.
“Damn, what a dark aura they have…”
Some started conversing while others wished to intrude and give them a drink but shortly after were stopped by others who thought that it might be best to leave them alone with each other.
While Khalid was sipping at his tea with cold eyes and a dark face, Bururiba fidgeted around, not knowing what to do or how to start the conversation. Seeing him not talking, Khalid became annoyed and got up.
“I can see you have nothing to say so I might as well return. I have a lot of plans to do.” → Khalid
His voice cold, making Bururiba twitch and grab his shoulder then say in a hurry.
“W-w-wait! U-uhm… I-I see you changed into your character! You look cool!” → Bururiba
Bururiba tried first to start an easy conversation, observing the huge change Khalid suffered from the last time he saw him. Together with it, he was also able to observe the numerous scars on his body, making his fists tremble.
Khalid on the other hand, seeing how Bururiba had nothing important to tell him, he turned around again to leave, when he tried again to stop him for a second time.
“W-w-wait a second! Khalid, please wait a moment. You have to let me explain some details you might have missed.” → Bururiba
At his words, Khalid’s cold face twisted and barred his fangs ferociously at Bururiba in a fit of fury.
“Missed? Do you mean about how your clan sold me to the guards? About how you used my creations to kill? About how my friends died while trying to find me? About how you turned into a pirate and started stealing while showing off my guns? I’m pretty sure I found out more things than you thought.” → Khalid
“D-did Shen’s people tell you that?! How dare they talk behind my back-!” → Bururiba
“It wasn’t from Antara.” → Khalid
Bururiba became furious at first, but then Khalid reprimanded him in a harsh tone.
“… All I know I’ve heard from the guards. At first, I didn’t want to listen but seeing your reactions now, I have no choice but to believe them. You, just like your leader, betrayed my trust.” → Khalid
“W-what-? Wait a moment!” → Bururiba
“Quiet!” → Khalid
Bururiba tried to back himself up but Khalid left no room for discussions, snapping and roaring out at Bururiba, silencing the entire cafeteria. He then looked at Bururiba with teary blood-shot eyes, his arms trembling from fury.
“Wait for what?! I told you numerous times: Except for the demonic or wild beasts, never kill a living being using my creations! You have your magic! You have your spells! Ridiculous physical power and weapons from every kind of shop for every kind of class! Yet why still use my sweat and blood to take the life of another person?! You asked me to craft your weapons, you promised me you won’t use it against the four races, you said it’s only in case you’re faced with a ridiculously strong beast! Please tell me, how many of the ones you killed using my gun were actually stronger than you?! NO ONE! They all fell from one bullet! I know everything, Bururiba! I know it all, because you, just like my dead friends, were targeted by that bastard Emilian!” → Khalid
Bururiba’s face paled while everyone inside the cafeteria froze in place.
“E-Emilian was watching me…? W-when?!” → Bururiba
Bururiba’s voice trembled while looking at Khalid completely frozen. Emilian was a supposedly best friend of Khalid from inside the clan before they got summoned into this world. Him, together with the girl that would always keep Khalid company, Rosy, and the one guy which helped Khalid with whatever he needed inside the game, Emilian, were the friendly trio of a small clan, no more than 30 people, playing together just for fun while Khalid was the crafter of the clan, leveling up only his crafting skills so his companions could have more fun in the dungeons. Even so, once summoned into this world, every one from his clan started to change, amazed by their own powers. And Emilian was also one of them. Once they started to get more used to their own abilities, everyone started to push Khalid aside, Emilian included, with the exception of Rosy and some other people who found their own clan members’ behaviors commentable or even reproachable. As they started to meet more and more people of their own, conflicts broke out and internal strife completely engulfed the entire clan. Rosy hastily left with Khalid and another three people, Emilian also being one of them. Because they had no destination, their blind wandering through the forest ended up with a meeting, having a family of Demonic Spiked-Back Bears to kindly greet them.
When combat broke out, Khalid was sent flying by a wave of a Demonic Bear cub and ended up at the base of a cliff where he was met by the Bull-Head clan which saved him, thinking that he might prove to be useful in the future.
Now that Rosy is dead?! Oh, Gods… And that damn Emilian… From what Khalid told me while describing him, he was the shut-in type while having a crush on Rosy. But the main question would be, ‘why the Hell have Rosy die then target everyone affiliated with Khalid?! What is that brat thinking? → Bururiba
Bururiba thought on his own then he glanced at Khalid, only to be shocked by a pair of dead and cold eyes which stared at him like at a stranger. This gaze made his heart turn cold, unable to say anything else to him. In the end, Khalid turned around and left with quick steps, not even glancing back and rushing toward the middle tower to continue talking with Bonny about the future plans for the Industrial Revolution.
The pirates gazed at Bururiba with conflicted feelings. They all wished to help their own captain but didn’t know what to do. After a long sigh, Bururiba left the cafeteria to enter his own ship, leaving the others to have their own good time.
While Bururiba left to sleep inside his own room, Khalid knocked at a door for a room where Bonny made her own office. Inside it, Tara was already having a chat with Bonny while drinking some kind of juice made by the dog-people.
Hearing the knock, Bonny invited Khalid in and Tara shot up happily while welcoming him with a wide smile.
“Khalid! How come you’re here? Don’t you wish some berries juice? Is really sweet! I heard they added something called sugar that Mister Shen’s group gathered in their travels! It’s so sweet and tasty! Here, try it!” → Tara
Tara gave her own cup of juice while showing a smile with a dark-blue line around her lips from the berries juice.
“No need.” → Khalid
Khalid answered in a neutral voice while going past Tara and stepping right in front of Bonny. Seeing his aura dark and gloomy, Bonny asked in a concerned tone.
“Did something happen?-” → Bonny
But the answer came immediately.
“Nothing happened. I’m here to talk about what I’ll need to build for this kingdom. Also, I first need to understand the materials I have at disposition for my new creations, then…” → Khalid
Without waiting for other questions, Khalid started asking his own about what was the most needed machine she thinks they need right now, what kind of materials they had and if they had metals in the first place, then if there was a good enough place for him to make his own craftings while using the kingdom’s materials.
Meanwhile, Tara looked at his back while holding her juice with both hands, feeling a little bit lonely. She thought of trying again then asked sheepishly:
“K-Khalid? When you’ll be hungry, how about going to eat together? There is a new menu from yesterday and-“ → Tara
“Tara.-” → Khalid
Khalid interrupted her while glancing with cold eyes. However, before he could open his mouth again, Bonny had a bad feeling about it so she said in a hurry:
“-Why don’t you help Khalid in crafting the next mechanisms for the kingdom? We are in need of help in a lot of areas so I’m sure he’ll need some assistance. Why don’t you go to Ryu’s office and take the key from the deposit? Khalid will need to see for himself all the items we can procure for now. Also, while doing so, please see how his majesty is doing. I’m worried that some of his injuries might have reopened after his fight with Shen.” → Bonny
“Huh? Ah, yes, my queen! On it!” → Tara
Tara left like the wind, leaving behind a silent Khalid and a relieved Bonny. Afterward, Khalid turned to Bonny and asked in annoyance.
“I thought I made myself clear that I will work alone. What was that baseless lie you made up just now?” → Khalid
“Mister Khalid, what happened to you? Before the reinforcement group came, you were in high spirit and wished to help with everything you got. It seems that this wish of yours still hasn’t changed, but your gloomy aura is almost the same as before. If there is something pressing you, please feel free to talk it out with anyone you feel more familiar with. I could say that Miss Tara could be especially a good help to you.” → Bonny
“She has nothing to do with me, neither anyone from this kingdom. Please don’t worry over petty things.” → Khalid
“Mister Khalid. As Ryu said before: You are now one of us. Even if it got or not something to do with us, I’m sure you’ll make us a big favor if you could trust us a little bit more. We’re in dire times and mutual trust and teamwork is a must when we’re dancing with death at every corner. If not for us, then at least for Miss Tara who thinks so highly of you.” → Tara
Feeling her sincere intentions, Khalid calmed down for a bit then sighed while feeling helpless.
“It’s fine… I thank the queen for her concern, but I said it and I’ll repeat it again; My problems are my own and I’ll resolve them by myself, please don’t worry.” → Khalid
Khalid said with an unyielding will while bowing lightly. Seeing him like this, Bonny shook her head with a helpless look while remembering another thick-headed whom she also has as a master.
I wonder how’s Shen doing right now… → Bonny
After Tara came back with the key, the three of them walked together inside the deposit and showed to Khalid everything that means crafting materials, coming either from the killed beasts, from inside Gabriel’s cave or from Alfheim. All of them were gathered inside this one room under the Middle Tower, while there were other such rooms where were deposited weapons, armors and other magic items. Unlike the materials’ room, the armory was almost non-stop visited because of the constant waves which forced them to use legendary weapons against even E rank monsters.
“This…” → Khalid
Khalid took a step forward while his eyes shone with shock and excitement. He looked around unable to believe his own eyes.
Let alone the incredibly rare items from the beasts, there are even some Legendary-classed ores and gems in here! Together with all the other valuable stuff, I should create incredible machinery! However, there is something that might prove to be a challenge… → Khalid
Khalid then turned around and with a serious face, he explained himself to Bonny and Tara.
“Your power is too low to work with such high-ranked items?!”
Both girls looked dumbfounded at Khalid, making him shake his head helpless.
“Before when I was molding the metals and assembled the items of lower ranks, I was using an Energy Stone with the element of Fire to melt the metals and burn the impurities from the ores. I was able to use the Energy Stones to heat the metal and my own Telekinesis powers from the Magic Swordsman to mold it. But now, with such high-ranked metals and other items, I won’t be able to do a thing even if I used ten Energy Stones of Fire at the same time… Is there something wrong?” → Khalid
Tara looked confused at him, not being able to understand most of what he explained, while Bonny looked at him baffled, her eyes wide open.
“H-hold on please…” → Bonny
She then massaged her own forehead from the sudden news she got.
I think I found out something incredible. → Bonny
Bonny thought while staring at the confused Kalid with a weak smile.
If only Shen were here… → Bonny
Bonny then asked Khalid to explain his own forms of crafting then she convinced him to have Tara as an assistant, making her swear not to impart the knowledge she’ll learn from him to someone else without his accord.
In the end, time passed without another big event happening, remaining only one day until the duel.
Inside the sealed hut of dirt, I was still meditating while black sweat fell down my skin. My mind was even more tired than before while my body was hurting all over as I confronted the devil in a mental fight.
Another punch which felt like a cannon-ball struck me and sent me flying while shattering my chest-bone, forming a huge dent. Everywhere around me the concrete was already turned into tiny pebbles with huge blocks of stones collapsed here and there or stuck on the ground, making for a sight worse than after a war.
[This game of torture is truly magnificent. I must thank you for proposing such an idea.]
The devil smiled brightly while blood dripped from his sewed mouth, taking this duel for him torturing me.
Right now I was fighting the devil inside my own mind the same way I did with the Seven Deadly Sins. However, no matter what I tried, the devil would simply send me flying right back with my bones shattered and my organs ruptured.
“[One with the Universe: Last Chapter!]” → Shen
I transformed again and shot out toward the devil once again.
I appeared right behind the devil and prepared a palm which would shatter space itself the moment it makes contact with something or someone, turning it into powder.
Even though that was the main purpose:
The devil simply pointed his long and sharp finger at my palm, penetrating it the moment it made contact.
The devil whispered and the effect of my Cronos’ Palm simply returned to me, shattering my body like a piece of porcelain.
I spat out another mouthful of blood, barely regenerating from my new injuries.
This is ridiculous! → Shen
[Are you done already?]
The devil grinned at me while feeling joyful for my suffering.
An eye appeared on my forehead and tried to examine the structure of the devil, searching for any weakness.
The devil simply pointed at my forehead and the third eye started to bleed.
Incredible pain struck me as if my head were going to split open. I tried to focus and while remembering every word from the Rosy Cross Sigil Wheel I focused and tried to make the sigil of the strongest Arch Angel known by me; Archangel Michael.
The devil laughed aloud as the shine of the sigil, right after being completed started to dim like the bulbs which showed signs of burning out. Because the devil already reached a point where he could control my own Chakras, even the one from the crown of the head, the connection with the sky was now shattered and made me unable to create any connection with any kind of outside-spirit, let alone a high-spirit like an Archangel.
Already feeling pressured, I retreated and summoned five black spears in a hurry.
I shot all of them but the devil simply waved his long arm, turning them all into smoke.
[What are you thinking? Using the essence from my home against me? Hahaha~!][Purgatory Spear]
The fire was again instantly extinguished.
Another reddish-black and blue spear appeared and was sent flying toward the Devil.
The devil said right before the contact. After he got hit by the spear, a humongous explosion resounded in my own head, making me dizzy for a moment. The explosion looked like a Nuclear Bomb from my world, sending everywhere a wave of head thousands of degrees which burned and incinerated everything, giving me a hard time blocking with the barrier and chi-strengthened body. Even so, after the smoke finally settled, the devil simply walked out from the cloud of dust and from inside the ridiculous crater.
I want him DEAD! → Shen
Completely shaken after seeing him still doing fine, I hastily summoned the green and ghastly spear above my head, ready to throw it with all I had.
[Spear Of Nothingness]