“It’s white?!” (Affeldrichae)
Affeldrichae cried out in surprise.
Yi Ji-Hyuk’s Mana was dark, and naturally, its colour was also black. That fact could never be changed through one’s will or technique.
If that was the case, then what could that white light shining out of Yi Ji-Hyuk possibly be?
However, as soon as her initial surprise wore off, she was able to immediately deduce the identity of that mysterious light.
That was the energy originally residing within Yi Ji-Hyuk from the get-go.
Quite unlike the residents of Berafe, who were all creatures of Mana, Yi Ji-Hyuk possessed a different sort of hidden power. However, it was so, so pathetically weak that he couldn’t use it at all. Yet, it was being unleashed in full right now.
‘But, when did he??’
Just when did that energy grow by that much?
The amount residing within him was too small to be of any use, but now…. She was aware of the humans of this world using that energy like their version of Mana supply, of course. Indeed, people surrounding Yi Ji-Hyuk utilised them on the daily basis, after all.
However, the amount of energy they possessed far, far outstripped what he had, and that was why they could safely, continuously rely on this energy form. As a matter of fact, Yi Ji-Hyuk’s energy was no different to that of what a regular civilian possessed.
But then, the amount of energy he was emitting right now was almost on the same level as that woman, Seo Ah-Young.
How was this possible?
Affeldrichae finally realised that the energy being emitted from Yi Ji-Hyuk’s body had actually been amplified through the Dragon Hearts mounted on his arms.
Sure, his energy had certainly grown since the beginning, but the current amount had been, without a doubt, augmented greatly by the Hearts.
But, why did he bother?
Even if he amplified his own energy through the Hearts, it was still no greater than that of Seo Ah-Young’s. Yi Ji-Hyuk’s most powerful attacks didn’t work on Beltreche, so how could such a weak energy affect the demon king now?
It was then, the energy emitted from Yi Ji-Hyuk’s body was sucked back inside as if time itself had been reversed.
Affeldrichae was deeply astonished.
Yi Ji-Hyuk’s right arm began ballooning up as black and white lights covered it up.
‘No, stop!!’ (Affeldrichae)
Even before she had the chance to cry out, she sensed an immeasurable power going on a rampage inside Yi Ji-Hyuk’s body.
“Beltrecheeeeee!!” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)
Beltreche too realised something was wrong, and with a tense expression, roused all the Mana it currently possessed, gathering it into its hand and thereby fortifying it greatly.
The reptilian demon king’s fist hardened like forged steel as the Mana thickly overflowed.
And then, Yi Ji-Hyuk and Beltreche both dashed towards each other.
The human’s ballooned-up right arm and the demon king’s own fortified arm collided.
There was a massive explosion.
The explosion that seemed to swallow up the entire world was promptly accompanied by a shockwave so powerful that it gouged out the desert sand as if they were wet mud, and blew them all away.
“Kyyaaahhh!!” (Jeong Hae-Min)
Jeong Hae-Min got caught in the shockwave and was flung far away; seeing this, Kim Dah-Hyun gritted his teeth and flew up, managing to grab her in a nick of time.
“Are you alright??” (Kim Dah-Hyun)
“Uh, ng.” (Jeong Hae-Min)
As she replied, her eyes continued to search for the trace of Yi Ji-Hyuk among the mighty dust storm still obscuring her vision.
Finally, the dust storm settled down, and….
Jeong Hae-Min lost all strength in her body.
Yi Ji-Hyuk was lying on the ground, covered in a sheet of white dust.
His entire body seemed to be twisted in an unnatural manner, while his right arm was nowhere to be seen, cut off right below his shoulder. Blood was pouring out from that wound as if it was a leaky tab.
“J-Ji-Hyuk….” (Jeong Hae-Min)
Her face paled into a white sheet.
She knew that she just had to go over there. She just had to….
It was then, she spotted Doh Gah-Yun rising up from the ground.
“Ah….” (Jeong Hae-Min)
Jeong Hae-Min couldn’t tell what exactly had happened, but even Doh Gah-Yun was utterly covered from head to toe in blood as well. Seeing that there was a gaping wound in her back, she must’ve done something at the moment of impact, but no one could tell what that was.
Doh Gah-Yun fully emerged out of the ground, placed her weakly-trembling hand near Yi Ji-Hyuk’s mouth, and then, tore off a section of her clothes to dress his wound.
“What about the demon king?!” (Kim Dah-Hyun)
Only after she heard Kim Dah-Hyun’s urgent voice did Jeong Hae-Min recover her wits and scan the vicinity.
There it was, in that crater over there!
Kim Dah-Hyun finally located Beltreche, collapsed on the ground in a crouching position.
“Is it… dead?” (Kim Dah-Hyun)
Beltreche was kneeling in a pool of blue blood, its entire body a mess of cracks and many grievous wounds. If that thing was a human, it’d have died a hundred times over from such wounds.
However, that thing collapsed there unmoving like that, was still a demon king, so obviously, it was impossible for anyone to lower their guards yet.
“We gotta!!” (Kim Dah-Hyun)
Kim Dah-Hyun loudly yelled out, which prompted Seo Ah-Young to roar out as a follow-up.
“Finish it!!!” (Seo Ah-Young)
With that call to arms, the ability users who were still awake and on two feet, began pouring out all of their attacks in the crater Beltreche was collapsed in.
Countless explosions continued to go off one after the other.
All the ability users present now attacked without holding back, as if they wanted to spend every single drop of Ether residing within their body.
“Heaaaaler!!” (Doh Gah-Yun)
Meanwhile, Doh Gah-Yun’s desperate call sharply dug into people’s ears.
Choi Jung-Hoon didn’t even have the time to feel the sense of incongruence when Doh Gah-Yun yelled out, and shouted out loudly himself.
“Chris, Chris!! We need a medic! Hurry!!” (Choi Jung-Hoon)
Even he could tell that Yi Ji-Hyuk’s current status was not good at all.
“Jimmy!!” (Christopher McLaren)
Christopher McLaren hurriedly called out to the American ability user.
“Get out of my way!” (Affeldrichae)
Affeldrichae had already arrived at the location by then, however; she pushed Doh Gah-Yun away and quickly checked Yi Ji-Hyuk’s status.
“….It’s not good.” (Affeldrichae)
It was already a feat of miracle that he didn’t die from the external wounds, but the truth was, the status of his internals was far graver.
Never mind the right arm that had disintegrated during the explosion, the cells on his shoulder had all died. Not only that, with all of his Mana reserve gone, this body that had been deeply stained by the dark Mana was undergoing a transformation at a frightening rate as well.
“N-no, this can’t go on!” (Affeldrichae)
At this rate, the ‘existence’ of Yi Ji-Hyuk would vanish.
She needed to find a way to….
It was then!
Along with the noise of the atmosphere being torn apart, several ability users were flung away like kites with their strings cut.
Affeldrichae’s eyes trembled greatly.
That collision was powerful enough to send a shiver down her spine, yet…
Beltreche had stood back up and now was glaring at Affeldrichae and Yi Ji-Hyuk still lying on the ground with its yellow eyes.
Its entire body had spider-web like cracks running all over to its extremities, while its left arm was ripped in half, the white bones underneath exposed to the air….
But, undeniably, it was standing tall, while Yi Ji-Hyuk was lying face down on the ground. Clearly, this was Yi Ji-Hyuk’s defeat.
“Euh….. Yi, Ji, Hyuk….” (Beltreche)
However, Beltreche’s condition was also obviously not good, as it faltered grandly and had to steady itself on the ground with its arm.
“How dare you push me to this degree with your pathetic self!” (Beltreche)
Beltreche correctly diagnosed his current condition.
His Mana reserve didn’t want to recover, only to leak away from it. It was as if its origin source had been shattered; it had received a crippling, devastating damage.
At this rate, the reptilian demon king wouldn’t be able to maintain its physical form and cease to exist altogether in the near future.
“However, I still won.” (Beltreche)
Beltreche confidently declared his victory. And then, it placed its still working right hand on the ground.
“Open up!!” (Beltreche)
It gathered all of its remaining Mana and opened up a Gate there.
A jet-black hole opened up like the jaws of a devil.
Beltreche was a demon.
As long as there was Mana, it could always recover its damaged body or its depleted lifeforce. Simply by establishing a connection with the demon world, Beltreche would not have any trouble recovering from this sort of wounds.
Not only that, didn’t it leave behind a half of itself back in the demon world, too?
Also, opening up a Gate was a simple matter, what with all the ominous, negative energy filling up the air of this desert supporting its efforts greatly.
Not to forget, it was opening up a small Gate just to let a little bit of its own energy enter from the other side, not its entire remaining half, so it wasn’t difficult at all.
Beltreche didn’t even need a lot. It only needed a minute amount of Mana to heal up its physical body, that was all.
“And so, I’ve finally achieved victory against you.” (Beltreche)
Sensing the blooming dark Mana leaking out of the Gate below its feet, Beltreche announced its victory once more.
The dark Mana dug deep into the reptilian demon king and rapidly healed its body.
Yi Ji-Hyuk had no way to recover from his wounds, while Beltreche did, so clearly, this was its resounding victory.
Pure, unadulterated delight filled up the demon king’s eyes, and having figured out the current situation, only despair filled up Affeldrichae’s eyes.
“And now, I shall finish this once and for all.” (Beltreche)
Affeldrichae stood before the fallen Yi Ji-Hyuk with a determined expression. Doh Gah-Yun, and Jeong Hae-Min, who had appeared besides them now, also stood to shield Yi Ji-Hyuk.
Seeing this all-too pitiful resistance, Beltreche extended its long tongue to lick its face. There was no greater pleasure than to crush the other’s feeble resistance and achieve its goal, after all.
Unfortunately, Beltreche couldn’t continue on with its celebration.
‘What’s this?’ (Beltreche)
There was something wrong with the dark Mana leaking out from the Gate. Because, way more Mana than when that Gate was opened started flooding out now.
‘….It can’t be?!’ (Beltreche)
No, it couldn’t be.
Yi Ji-Hyuk was still unconscious. And his body showed not one hint of movement. Which meant that he wasn’t using some sort of an underhanded trick here, and if it wasn’t him, then…. However, there was no one in this world capable of controlling dark Mana like this.
Besides, this sensation Beltreche was feeling – it was rather different to all of those.
How should the demon king put it….
It was as if some unknown force was forcibly widening the Gate not from this side, but from the other side.
“Who dares!” (Beltreche)
Beltreche’s flustered gaze lowered to the ground, and that was when a certain voice resounded out to everyone’s ears.[How dare you….]
The voice that easily pierced straight past one’s eardrums and lodged deeply into one’s brain.
The voice that sounded sensuous, seductive, and capable of shaking the moral foundation of all living things.
In that moment Beltreche heard that voice, terror and despair dyed its eyes completely. Its brain was immediately flooded with the name of this mighty being.
“Nooo!! No, this can’t be!!” (Beltreche)
Beltreche tried to escape from the radius of the Gate on the ground, but then, a half-translucent hand, so white like a fleeting phantom, shot out from the darkness and grasped onto Beltreche’s leg.
Beltreche’s leg, as thick and hard as an elephant’s donger, got crushed by that hand as if it was made out of paper, blue blood exploding and spluttering to everywhere. (TL: Yes, the ‘private part’ bit is from the raw. BTW, TSS reference FTW!)
The hand grabbing onto the reptilian demon king slowly dragged the yelping Beltreche into the Gate’s centre.
“Why! Why are you doing this?! Why!!!!” (Beltreche)
Even though it was getting dragged in, Beltreche continued to cry out in pure terror.
“He’s no long the same person as you know! So, why are you still protecting him!! Whyyyyy!!” (Beltreche)
Its desperate callings finally resulted in a hushed reply.[You asking, cuz you really don’t know?]
The voice was transmitted directly into the listener’s head.
Listening to that seductive voice, Beltreche became even more acutely aware of its own impending demise. Because, that voice, which should’ve sounded airy and cheery as it always had been in the past, clearly displayed her boiling anger right now.
“P-please, I beg of you!! Spare me!! Save me!! Oh, great thirteenth dem….” (Beltreche)
Beltreche’s body suddenly began to grow much, much thinner, starting from its lower torso. As if the innards were being sucked out while the exterior shell was left as is, the demon king’s body shrivelled up at a visible pace.
“Ah, ah-ahhhh…..” (Beltreche)
The ray of light denoting one’s life gradually faded away from Beltreche’s yellow eyes. And finally, Beltreche’s empty shell plopped to the ground with a loud thud.
Everyone present bore witness to this spectacle without being able to say a single word.
They had given their all in this fight, and even Yi Ji-Hyuk had to sacrifice his arm yet they still failed to defeat this demon king. But now, an unknown presence rendered such a creature utterly powerless, and killed it just like that.
The shock brought on by this turn of events left everyone here completely speechless.
Affeldrichae sensed the gaze of the being watching them from beyond that jet-black Gate, and shuddered in fear.
The worst, greatest demon king.
The one creature she never, ever wanted to run into had ‘appeared’ before her now.[….Affeldrichae.]
She shuddered even more as that voice called out to her.[Bring him here.]
The owner of that voice was calling out to Yi Ji-Hyuk.
< 170. Count on it, lizard -5 > Fin.