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The ‘beginning’ was simple.
He enjoyed using that in the past, but had forgotten about it recently. But, as soon as the whole concept of ‘buffing’ took root and bloomed in his head, he began thinking about the idea rather seriously.
How could he further strengthen the human ability users who could not get any stronger past a certain point?
Currently, they had become stronger than before, sure. But compared to the monsters emerging from the newly-opening Gates, they were still nothing much to write home about.
Basically, ‘power inflation’ was happening right now.
At this rate, ability users would find themselves in a position that’s not too different from the regular, powerless civilians’ before long.
However, if he could cast ‘Buff’ on them, then the story would change quite drastically.
Well, weren’t the weakling warriors of Berafe able to fight against Yi Ji-Hyuk’s demonic army on an equal footing, just because they had received plentiful blessings and Buff magic spells?
The weak-a*s monsters invading Earth currently couldn’t even be compared to the likes of the demons and evil creatures Yi Ji-Hyuk dragged around back in Berafe.
The basis, the foundation, of the power enabling the folks of Berafe to fight competently against such a marauding army….
‘Yup, I did walk on a different path from that, didn’t I?’
In all honesty, Yi Ji-Hyuk was not interested in that side of magic. Well, he had no reason to strengthen other people, after all.
If someone had to become stronger, he’d rather that be him, and if his monsters were killed off, all he had to do was to summon some more.
Quite obviously, he’d not be interested in things like ‘Buffing’ others.
Then one day, he just inexplicably remembered the concept of ‘Buffing’ so he felt like shouting out “Eureka!!” to the high heavens.
That’s what he felt, but….
Yi Ji-Hyuk clicked his tongue as he watched Kim Dah-Hyun dashing towards him with bubbles forming in his mouth.
“I just knew it.” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)
Buffing others, my a*s. (the author)
When Dioreh the First cast Buffs, he was able to create a divine fighting force, but when Yi Ji-Hyuk tried to Buff someone, he might end up creating an undead instead!
“Ahhh, seriously, man. This black magic…. What a pain in the butt, man.”
While he was in Berafe, there was nothing more convenient than black magic.
He could even say that the usefulness of the black magic was truly the best, because he could just throw it around without care, he could morph it into whatever he wanted, and he could just shove some in humans and turn them into undead.
More importantly, when it came to offensive spells, it boasted several times the might compared to the similar grade of light Mana. So, from Yi Ji-Hyuk’s perspective, there was no better alternative.
The story might have been different when it came to defensive spells, but well, there was no such concept as defending for Yi Ji-Hyuk, so it didn’t matter.
But now, with the current situation like this, dark Mana and black magic were turning out to be far more inconvenient than he’d like them to be.
Even if he succeeded in Buffing, it didn’t last that long, and if he failed, the subjects would lose their minds, instead…..
So, he had to carefully apply the right amount, but too bad, that ‘right’ amount differed from person to person, meaning he had to concentrate extremely hard each time.
And, on top of all this….
“Kuwaaahht!!” (Kim Dah-Hyun)
Kim Dah-Hyun’s fist flew in like a cannon shell.
“….Shield.” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)
Yi Ji-Hyuk’s Shield and Kim Dah-Hyun’s fist collided and a powerful shockwave exploded out.
No matter how hard he concentrated, subjects would end up this way….
Yi Ji-Hyuk clicked his tongue as he was thrown backwards.
If he Buffed someone too little, then there was no point, and if it was too much, then that person would lose their minds.
Also, did applying the right amount solve this problem? Nope.
Even if he did, the person going berserk could not be prevented.
The only silver lining here is that the crazed subjects would not attack someone they didn’t loathe already…..
“How annoying.” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)
And also, Yi Ji-Hyuk was the one responsible for making Kim Dah-Hyun like this, so he couldn’t even get irritated and beat the poor dude to death, either….
Meaning, he had to subdue the frenzied subjects without harming them too much. Just how annoying was that?!
“Hah, this thing called life….” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)
Well, the time for eternal rest would come eventually, anyway!
Yi Ji-Hyuk made up his mind and a tentacle extended out from his hand.
“Kuwaaaahhh!!” (Kim Dah-Hyun)
The tentacle grabbed and yanked at the fiercely-resisting Kim Dah-Hyun, wrapped around him, and pushed him down.
“Kuwahh! Uwaaaaahht!” (Kim Dah-Hyun)
Kim Dah-Hyun was forced to the ground, and he began to struggle violently as bloody foams bubbled out from his mouth.
On the contrary to how it looked, the case with Kim Dah-Hyun was actually an easy one. Once he had lost his mind, he couldn’t properly utilise his speed, and Kim Dah-Hyun without his speed was…. Well, he’d be nothing much.
However, for someone like Park Sung-Chan, his already-tough body would further strengthen to an absurd degree – never mind the increase in his physical power, too – and subduing him would become a rather demanding task.
“Tsk….” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)
If the same thing repeated over and over again for a couple more times, then he’d come up with suitable responses eventually, but for now, Yi Ji-Hyuk couldn’t help but feel quite annoyed by this whole thing.
“Well, now….” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)
Yi Ji-Hyuk forced Kim Dah-Hyun down and stabbed a black tentacle in the latter’s body.
“Keu-keuheuk…..” (Kim Dah-Hyun)
He then began sucking in the dark Mana circulating in there.
“Kkeuheuhhhhh…” (Kim Dah-Hyun)
Kim Dah-Hyun’s body began shivering non-stop.
Even after all the dark Mana was sucked out and the black tentacle had withdrawn, Kim Dah-Hyun continued to shiver as if he had contracted malaria or some such.
Seo Ah-Young could no longer watch this horrifying sight and averted her gaze. She knew very well that, once Yi Ji-Hyuk injected some strange substance inside them, they could wield power several times greater than usual. In a way, she should be glad about this whole thing.
But, the reason for her desperately avoiding it was unfolding right before her eyes.
Once the magical energy was sucked out, the once-enhanced body would suffer from devastating side effects. It was already unimaginably painful when the dark Mana was being injected, but when it was being sucked out, the pain one experienced would be several times greater.
Seo Ah-Young looked on with a sympathetic face at Kim Dah-Hyun, while Yi Ji-Hyuk had already shifted his attention away, and was heading towards the barely-alive giant. A cold smirk was forming on his face.
“Thanks for the meal.” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)
It was time to gorge himself.
Seo Ah-Young looked at Yi Ji-Hyuk slowly walking towards the giant with his tentacles still extended out, and felt rather nauseous.
Just how far did that man plan to go?
Her eyes continued to chase after his back.
“Will this thing really be of help?” (Alpha)
While looking at the black pearl-like objects in its hand, the facial muscles of ‘Argolas’ distorted to form a strange expression.
“You did well by gathering them. I shall wholeheartedly praise you.” (Argolas)
“And should I say I’m touched? Or that I’m thankful?” (Alpha)
Argolas did not react to Alpha’s retorts.
This human might be impudent, but he still had his uses. Even now, he had accomplished the given task admirably well. If it were up to Argolas, Alpha would’ve been rewarded handsomely by now.
Of course, if Argolas’s actual body was here, then a suitable reward would really have been bestowed upon Alpha, but for the time being, a praise would have to suffice.
No, that would change soon enough.
Argolas stared at the round marbles Alpha had brought along, before its facial muscles flinched again.
Indeed, the human did well to bring them here, but….
“It’s not enough?” (Argolas)
Originally, there should have been more. Compared to its expectations, the gathered amount was not enough.
“Well, a certain someone decided to dispose of the two that you thought would cause the worst damage.” (Alpha)
“That man, was it….” (Argolas)
Argolas began frowning rather deeply.
The ninety-ninth demon king.
A man who was a demon king, but who was also not.
And, even though he was not one anymore, the title of ‘demon king’ still fitted him like glove.
The man who climbed up from the very bottom in the world of magic, to eventually stand at the very top.
The Bringer of Apocalypse to all humans, and the ninety-ninth demon king to the demon world.
“Well, I did expect that level of interference.” (Argolas)
There was no way that man would hold a sense of duty to protect this world, but he was also someone who wouldn’t sit idly by while others made a mess of his territory.
‘His territory is larger than I thought.’ (Argolas)
From the beginning, Argolas chose not to harm the country that man was living in. If one thought about how that man operated in the past, then there was a very good chance that he’d think of the country he belonged to as his.
However, now that man had personally interfered with the matters of other countries, the territory he considered to be his own could have exceeded Argolas’s imagination.
“But, that doesn’t matter now.” (Argolas)
From here onwards, that was.
Up until now, the story might have been different, but there was no more reason to worry about him.
The only thing remaining for that man was the glory of his past.
The absolute sorcerer supreme of the past who could overturn the continent and pierce the heavens with just a flick of a hand was long gone. The only thing remaining was a shell that possessed a tiny fraction of the glorious past.
Indeed, the title of a demon king was not decided by one’s character, but through one’s power.
That Yi Ji-Hyuk was just a normal human now.
Of course, the Yi Ji-Hyuk of now, who only possessed that tiny fraction of his former glory, still posed immense danger to the current Argolas.
That was true, but….
“….But now, the story is different.” (Argolas)
Argolas tightly grasped the marbles in his hand and crushed them.
Soon, something ashy-grey and dark began circling around Argolas’s hand.
After spitting out a short gasp, Argolas began sucking in that ominous energy.
The negative energy that exceeded thousands, tens of thousands and into several hundreds of measurements began filling up Argolas’s body.
This was the origin of the energy, as well as the source of incomparable high that no drug could induce for the demons. Argolas’s black tongue licked its lips, as the demon savoured the taste.
“Well, now….” (Argolas)
Once Argolas converted the energy sucked into its body to Mana, it extended its hand towards a small Gate in front of its eyes.
“Although it is a little short, but…..” (Argolas)
This much should be….
Mana escaping from Argolas’s right hand got sucked into the Gate, and its size began to expand slowly. At first, the Gate was only the size of a basketball, but eventually, it grew large enough for a person to walk through.
“Is it finally done?” (Alpha)
When Alpha asked, Argolas nodded its head, although its expression was distorted.
“It is by no means satisfactory, but still, it should be just about enough to allow passage from the other side. The problem would be with who among the exalted ones decides to come.” (Argolas)
Alpha scratched his chin.
He couldn’t figure out what this little demon was trying to do here, but as long as it’d help his cause, then it didn’t matter. No, what was more important to him would be, how he should go about using them….
It was at this moment that the Gate began to crazily distort and writhe. Having seen this change, Argolas hurriedly got down to its knees.
“Kneel down, you foolish human! A truly mighty and exalted being shall arrive soon.” (Argolas)
“I’m sorry, but my knees aren’t for kneeling down.” (Alpha)
Alpha shrugged his shoulders nonchalantly, causing Argolas to silently glare at him. However, Alpha simply ignored it altogether.
Soon, Argolas also stopped caring about Alpha as well.
The Gate was opening up, after all. Meaning, there was no time to mind the small things anymore.
The Gate continued to writhe about this way and that from the immense, unseen pressure, before it finally opened up. And then, an unknown but definitely ominous aura exploded out from beyond.
Alpha’s eyes narrowed to a slit and continued to witness the proceedings.
Since there was an existence called a demon right in front of his eyes already, he couldn’t not believe, but then again, the fact that another realm that could potentially be real ‘hell’ was being connected to Earth? Now that was not something he could easily accept.
It all kind of felt rather weird, like reality was merging with fantasy, or some such.
For a moment there, Alpha’s sight caught onto a blurry shape.
It was as if something was approaching from a far, beyond the Gate.
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Emitting a low-pitched moan that sounded as if it came from the deepest part of the abyss, something’s head emerged out from the Gate.
First to appear were round horns, like the ones on a mountain goat.
After those horns coloured in a hue closer to reddish black than pure black, a face that resembled a reptile emerged from the Gate next.
The moment Alpha looked into the creature’s yellow irises split from top to bottom, his body trembled from the shock of his soul almost being sucked in there.
Indeed, this was a demon.
Alpha thought to himself, while sensing something fundamentally different compared to other lifeforms emanating from this creature.
Could it be that he was in the middle of a huge misunderstanding?
Was forming a partnership with demons the right thing to do?
He began to doubt himself, and then, doubted some more.
Finally, the demon fully emerged from the Gate and stood before the two.
The reptilian-face, and three horns on top of its head.
And the muscular human-like upper body supported by four legs.
Argolas deeply bowed its head before this being.
“It is my honour to greet the great eighty-second demon king.” (Argolas)
The creature referred to as the demon king slowly spat out a long breath. At the same time, the exhaled white breath thickly scattered in the air like the exhaled cigarette smoke.
“This is where he is?”
“That is correct, oh great one.” (Argolas)
The 82nd demon king.
Beltreche loudly roared out in a voice that sounded like iron scraping against iron.
The voice that could shake humans’ hearts dug clearly into Alpha’s ears.
“Where is that man, Yi Ji-Hyuk?!” (Beltreche)
< 150. You can take care of it, anyway -5 > Fin.