The demon king.
The title existed for real, but its actual meaning was like a cloud in the sky.
Until he found himself stuck in Berafe, Yi Ji-Hyuk only understood the vague concept of what a demon king was, but then again, he never thought it could be a real thing, either.
However, after getting mixed up with the demonic realm’s business in Berafe, he got to realise what kind of existences these demon kings were. If one were to be pedantic, then there was no true ‘demon king’ in existence.
Because, the title of ‘demon king’ would denote the strongest individual found within the demons.
However, it didn’t matter what species you were, as long as you got acknowledged as being truly strong by the demonic realm, and make other demons submit to you, anyone could become the next demon king.
The thing was, though – even within the vast, seemingly-infinite history of the demonic realm, there only ever had been 99 demon kings.
The last person to claim that title was none other than Yi Ji-Hyuk.
“A demon king, is it….” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)
Since Affeldrichae said that the Gates were connected to the demonic realm, he did guess that someone from there might have crossed over already. He figured that it’d be around the level of a superior demon or something, but…
But, there was a limit to a superior demon when it came to controlling monster hordes. Even Yi Ji-Hyuk could only start controlling monsters properly after climbing into the position of the demon king, after all.
Even if one took into account the differences between a human and a demon as species, it was still impossible for a superior demon to use monsters like tools.
It might be possible to open up Gates to summon various monsters, but when doing something like that, it’d become practically impossible to summon the kinds you wanted in the first place.
In this case, then, it’d be correct to assume that an existence on the level of a demon king had summoned its direct subordinates.
Who could it be?
He couldn’t be certain of it, though.
While traversing through several dimension, he had become aware of it. Just as Berafe and Earth existed, the demonic realm Yi Ji-Hyuk knew couldn’t have been the only one out there.
Even if that single demonic realm was a massive world that’s easily thousands of times larger than when combining both Berafe and Earth into one.
“I wonder, who is it?”
If that guy did indeed come from that demonic realm, then Yi Ji-Hyuk would surely know who it was….
If that were the case, then who was capable of causing this sort of an incident?
It couldn’t have been a upper-level demon king.
If a Gate large enough to let a upper-level demon king cross over, then the Gate itself would cause an incredible shockwave across the dimensions. It was not for nothing that the advent of a demon king signalled the end of the world, in other words.
If such a massive ripple occurred, there was no way Yi Ji-Hyuk wouldn’t notice it.
Which meant that either it was a pretty low-level demon king, or even that low-level demon king couldn’t cross over completely intact…
Yi Ji-Hyuk began calculating just how strong of an existence had descended to this world with that situation in mind.
According to his quick calculation….
“It’s the end of the world.”
He couldn’t think of an answer.
In all honesty, if a single superior demon, not a true demon king, had managed to descend pretty much intact, then this planet wouldn’t be able to fight it off.
A superior demon was almost on the level of a super powerful Dragon. It would be an existence that only an Ancient-grade Dragon had any realistic hope of defeating.
However, you wanna talk about a demon king?
The difference between a demon king, and a superior demon was rather simple.
Well, the thing was, if a demon king wasn’t capable of utterly massacring a superior demon with a flick of its hand, which dumba*s demon would be willing to follow the orders of one?
No matter how weak a demon king was, it was still a creature on another plain of existence compared to the demons of lower grades.
That was why….
Because of such a gap in power, they were acknowledged as demon kings. Didn’t matter whether you were a mutant, a superior race, whatever. Hell, even a human was fine.
No, ‘power’ was the only qualification necessary.
That was the sole reason why Yi Ji-Hyuk was bestowed with the title of the demon king.
And now, the odds of an existence possessing such power having descended on this planet was uncomfortably high.
Merely thinking about it made his head hurt.
No doubt, the current Yi Ji-Hyuk wouldn’t be able to do anything to such an existence.
“Just which crazy b*stard crossed over?!”
After recalling all the faces of the demon kings, Yi Ji-Hyuk quickly arrived at one conclusion.
Didn’t matter who it was, there was no answer here.
From the get-go, the meaning of one’s strength reaching the very extremes was that you’d have utterly devoted yourself into one single field of expertise throughout your entire life. And the normal world would call such a person ‘crazy b*stard’ for sure.
So, rather obviously, not one demon king was what you’d call ‘normal’ in the head.
Again, it didn’t matter who crossed over, it was the same story.
“Uh-whew. Just how much of a crazy b*stard did cross over?”
“That crazy b*stard hasn’t made a move?” (Beltreche)
Beltreche tilted its head.
Did he really regain his mind?
There was just no way the worst wackjob in the history of demonic realm would not do something after such an incident occurred in his backyard….
“Maybe, he has noticed something?” (Argolas)
“When did that b*stard ever do crazy things while being oblivious? He’s the crazy b*stard because he knowingly did all those crazy things.” (Beltreche)
“Of course.” (Argolas)
Beltreche massaged its temples.
Just from the mere fact that the worst crazy b*stard in the history of the demonic realm was a human, the way the denizens of the demonic realm treated humans went through a fundamental shift.
Before Yi Ji-Hyuk, humans were thought of as fairly intelligent creatures perfect for toying around for a bit before extracting negative energy from. But, after him, they were still seen as ‘fun to toy around with’, but if any one of them properly lost their sh*t, they would become even worse existences than demons.
“If it was the past him, he wouldn’t have sit back and do nothing….” (Beltreche)
When he was doing his thing back in the demonic realm, Yi Ji-Hyuk was a tyrant and an conqueror, not to mention a bomb-like existence who didn’t let even the most minor matters pass by.
The Yi Ji-Hyuk of the past would never, ever let the event of another making a ruckus in his territory go by unpunished at all.
However, if he didn’t show any big movements even after such a fuss had been raised…. Without a doubt, he was a changed man compared to the past.
Could he have noticed ‘it’ already?
That I am already in this world?
If it’s him, he might be suspecting it. Maybe not me specifically, but at least, in the general sense. (Beltreche’s inner monologue)
“Or, is he trying to cook up a suitable response?” (Beltreche)
Even Beltreche had made a slight oversight with his plan.
“Who knew they would be so weak.” (Beltreche)
If he had let loose those insects in Berafe, the overall impact wouldn’t have been this great.
Well, in Berafe, one would find pretty much everywhere the holy men and women who could use ‘Purification’ with divine blessings they were bestowed with, as well as countless mages capable of tracking down every single bug released.
The insect horde might be able to cause a bit of chaos there, but in the end, everything would eventually be put back into perfect order, and a short time after that, all harm caused would have been dealt with.
“To be this weak….” (Beltreche)
According to the information it had received, this world was incomparably more advanced than Berafe. Especially when firepower was concerned, this world was definitely a step above Berafe.
However, it was far worse in every other category.
Utterly ruining this world wouldn’t be hard at all.
Brainwashing high-ranking politicians with magic and let them start a big war would end everything, or simply by unleashing an army of undead, they would truly become the immortal army they were meant to be in a world where no one was capable of performing ‘Purification’.
“What a fun little world this is….” (Beltreche)
On top of this, the overall population here was incomparably greater than Berafe, and there were plentiful of their base desires and negative energy to harvested.
If Beltreche knew of such a world, then it’d start scheming against this place instead of Berafe a long time ago.
“Indeed, this place is without a doubt, a fun little world.” (Beltreche)
No, even if everything else was disregarded, the mere fact that the 99th demon king was residing here made this world a fun place to be.
“So, then. What should I do next?” (Beltreche)
Beltreche expected Yi Ji-Hyuk to come barging in here after letting some bugs loose, but the situation was unfolding in a slightly unexpected manner.
That was in part a fault of Beltreche when it failed to account for the difference between Berafe and Earth, and also, Yi Ji-Hyuk’s shift in personality, where he didn’t respond as quickly as he did in the past, played a big role.
Well, if things didn’t work out one way, then all Beltreche had to do was to turn it around, or twist it even further.
Beltreche stared at a contraption humans had invented called ‘television’ and cackled insidiously. Seeing the panic of humans as conveyed by this little box really entertained the demon king.
It even felt like the heavy, odious anxiety wafting in the air was strengthening its body, too.
“This much isn’t nearly enough.” (Beltreche)
The rate of anxiety and fear spreading in this world was so, so much faster than Berafe.
The panic spread through word of mouth sure had a charm of its own, but it spreading through this sort of medium had another type of charm to it, too.
However, if there was one thing strange, that would be….
“Even though this much ruckus has been raised, this world still seems to be abnormally peaceful.” (Beltreche)
If that was the case, then could this medium lower the fear of the public, instead? Facing this unexplainable situation, Beltreche became quite interested.
Indeed, one should not use the method of understanding for Berafe in this world.
“So…. Where is the 99th demon king as of this moment?” (Beltreche)
“He’s in a place not too far from here.” (Argolas)
“Oh the great demon king, may I dare to ask a single question?” (Argolas)
“Go on.” (Beltreche)
“May I inquire the reason why you’re taking your time?” (Argolas)
The ends of Beltreche’s lips arched up. The forked tongue of a reptile sneaked out and moistened its lips.
“Does it look like I’m taking my time?” (Beltreche)
“With your powers, surely you can severely punish that arrogant 99th demon king quite easily, yes?” (Argolas)
“Of course, I can.” (Beltreche)
“In that case, why are you holding back to this degree?” (Argolas)
Beltreche cracked its neck several times.
“I’m not holding back. I definitely am not holding anything back. No, I’m simply enjoying myself.” (Beltreche)
“This servant fails to understand….” (Argolas)
“Just how long have I suffered at the hands of the 99th demon king?” (Beltreche)
“….Indeed, my lord.” (Argolas)
“That is why, simply ending it like that would never soothe my fury. If I wanted to…..” (Beltreche)
Beltreche shuddered greatly.
“….I could easily keep him alive while cutting him into million little pieces, and then, ask him how he feels.” (Beltreche)
“I see.” (Argolas)
“However, one waits until the fruit ripens. Only then can you truly savour it.” (Beltreche)
“It will be done according to your wise will.” (Argolas)
However, one could never tell the future.
Would that man stay still like this until the end?
Because, one’s nature would not change that quickly.
Beltreche’s vertically-slit eyes began shining in ominous glare.
“You say it’s a demon king?!” (Seo Ah-Young)
Seo Ah-Young stared at Yi Ji-Hyuk with a dumbfounded expression on her face.
A demon king, of all things?
This wasn’t some kind of a run-of-the-mill anime, so what on earth was this about?
“Maybe, you read one too many mangas?” (Seo Ah-Young)
This time, it was Yi Ji-Hyuk’s turn to be dumbfounded.
“What the heck. Monsters are running loose in this world, so what’s strange about demons kings and whatnot??” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)
“Well, if you put it that way….” (Seo Ah-Young)
Well, Orcs, Ogres and Trolls were freely roaming in this world nowadays, so what would be so strange about a demon king appearing out of the blue now?
“So, what you’re saying is that, this incident is caused by a demon king, yes?” (Seo Ah-Young)
“Yup.” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)
Yi Ji-Hyuk lightly nodded his head.
“So, if we get rid of that demon king, this whole thing will be resolved more or less, right?” (Seo Ah-Young)
“Dunno about that.” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)
“Eh?” (Seo Ah-Young)
“That may happen. Or not.” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)
“In that case, why waste energy trying to take down this… demon king?” (Seo Ah-Young)
“If we don’t deal with it now, well, we might see another horde of insects being summoned after we deal with the first one. That’s why.” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)
Sure, that sounded plausible.
If those bugs were indeed summoned into this world, then there was no guarantee that more wouldn’t be summoned in the future. So, if they didn’t stop that from happening in the first place, it’d be like pouring water into a bottomless jar.
“So, do you have a solution?” (Seo Ah-Young)
Yi Ji-Hyuk asked back.
“What, you mean a way to track down the demon king? Of course I do have a way.” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)
“Oh, really? Well, let’s go kill it, then.” (Seo Ah-Young)
“The problem is that we have no way to do that.” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)
Yi Ji-Hyuk grinned refreshingly as he spoke.
“It’s the case of ‘No Answers, amigo’.” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)
No, wait a minute, you d*mn as*hole! You can’t be the one saying that!!
If you can’t deal with that, that means no one can…. (Seo Ah-Young’s inner monologue)
“You really can’t?” (Seo Ah-Young)
Yi Ji-Hyuk began tilting his head this way and that.
“Mm… If I were to really, really think of a way, then it’s not like there’s none, but….” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)
“Well, in that case, shouldn’t we do that?” (Seo Ah-Young)
“I think it’d be better we don’t, though?” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)
“But, why not?” (Seo Ah-Young)
“Weeeell, things will get a lot more horrifying, you see.” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)
Yi Ji-Hyuk’s face was now dyed in the colours of pure evil.
< 162. You’re still not good with lying -2 > Fin.
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