“However, oh great demon king.” (Argolas)
Argolas lowered and then lowered its head even further.
“It’s not only him in this world.” (Argolas)
Delkaran looked down on the demon as if it found something rather amusing.
“There are others?” (Delkaran)
“There are existences that use magic powers in this world as well. Humans that can use special abilities by utilising something that’s not Mana are abound in this planet.” (Argolas)
“And you say that will pose a problem?” (Delkaran)
“Not only that, the Dragon Lord and some other beings from Berafe have crossed over as well. Even Lord Beltreche fell to the combined resistance of these beings.” (Argolas)
“No, he fell because of the 13th demon king’s whims.” (Delkaran)
“That is indeed true.” (Argolas)
“I understand what you’re trying to tell me.” (Delkaran)
“This lowly being is grateful for your graciousness.” (Argolas)
Argolas kowtowed once more.
“The Dragon Lord, is it… Did she cross over with all of her powers?” (Delkaran)
“It does not seem that way. At a glance, she seems to possess not even a quarter of my current power. Even when she found herself in danger, she didn’t revert back to her true self. The magical energy I could sense from her was also incredibly miniscule.” (Argolas)
Delkaran’s eyes glowed brilliantly.
“It does not hurt to be prudent, however. If the Dragon Lord is hiding her powers, then she will pose a significant enough danger.” (Delkaran)
“It is indeed so.” (Argolas)
“However, it’ll not matter in the end. Not just the Dragon Lord, but even the entire population of Dragons from Berafe will not be able to stop me. As long as that man does not regain his former strength, that is.” (Delkaran)
Delkaran’s gaze then shifted over to the side.
“Is this the human supporting our cause?” (Delkaran)
“Yes, oh great demon king.” (Argolas)
The demon king locked its eyes on Alpha.
The moment his eyes met the demon king’s, Alpha was overwhelmed by the sensation of all his energy abandoning him in droves.
He felt something similar from Beltreche, too. It was hard to figure out why this was happening. Was it due to some kind of power all demon kings possessed? Or, was it because of this unbridgeable gap of strength between him and these demons?
He was certain of one thing, though, and that would be the fact that the demon king in front of his eyes could easily crush him into meat paste in the blink of an eye if it suddenly decided to do so.
“Oh, human.” (Delkaran)
“You wish to aid us?” (Delkaran)
Delkaran sneered as if it found that very notion rather amusing in itself.
Humans were interesting creatures to the demonic beings.
Sure, demons wouldn’t be too greatly affected if there were no humans around. However, the negative energy created by human minds was the source of wealth, as it were, to the demonic world. And not to forget, if the denizens of the demon world wished to play their tricks on other worlds, they needed the complicity of humans, too.
In Berafe, that role was reserved for the Dark Wizards.
In order to carry this symbiotic relationship forward, demonic beings supplied Mana to the Dark Wizards and lent their powers out, too. Indeed, it was a truly symbiotic relationship where both sides helped each other out for their own interests.
Even if it was a measly little human, as long as he was helping the demons out, then a suitable compensation would be bestowed. That was the way of the demons.
“What is it that you wish?” (Delkaran)
Alpha began chuckling in disbelief when he heard that.
“What would a human aiding demons want in return?” (Alpha)
“Authoritative power, financial power, or physical power.” (Delkaran)
“….Ah, I see. There were two others, too. My bad. You’re smarter than me.” (Alpha)
Alpha scratched the back of his head as if he genuinely hadn’t considered the possibility.
Well, all I need is power, but there are quite a few variety of powers out there, isn’t it?
“It’ll be nice to have the other two, but right now, what I need is physical power.” (Alpha)
“If so, it shall be given to you.” (Delkaran)
“The last demon king said the same thing before kicking the bucket, you know? If I can help it, I’d prefer to be paid upfront. Don’t you fellas from the demon world know the concept of paying upfront?” (Alpha)
For a moment there, Alpha thought he saw the face of Delkaran move, which had been cloaked in the darkness and couldn’t be seen at all. Those pair of glowing red eyes wavered from beneath the cloak’s hood.
“Aren’t you an amusing human.” (Delkaran)
“You know, I’ve also heard that one before, too. I guess all demon kings have similar types of personalities.” (Alpha)
“This is why humans can be so entertaining.” (Delkaran)
Humans were a bunch of weaklings, but they somehow believed that they could manipulate demon kind to do their bidding.
This human had the gumption to openly say things like this. But, even the wizards who summoned demons to their worlds would feign fear and reverence all the while scheming inwardly to use the beings from the demonic world somehow to their advantage.
This was a contrasting thought process from the demons.
A lifespan of a demon was incomparably longer than that of humans. And their pecking order would be decided the moment they were born. It was pretty much impossible for a demon of low hierarchical standing to rise to a higher position.
That was why demons all recognised the position they occupied in the hierarchy and submitted to the beings above their them
However, humans were different.
The history of mankind was a repetition of war and coup d’etat. If one lacked strength, one would strive to grow stronger. One would struggle hard and fight in order to rise to a higher position.
That made humans an entertaining race to meddle with. Perhaps this was the reason why demons were so interested in the matters of humans, after all.
‘That was, until that d*mn human appeared out of nowhere.’ (Delkaran)
The 99th demon king.
The destroyer of the image demons had of humans for aeons of time in one fell swoop.
He proceeded to destroy the perceived notion of humans being frail and weak; he destroyed the notion of humans being easy to deceive; and he even destroyed the notion that humans could not resist against the demon kind.
Most importantly, he had reversed the position humans occupied from being prey to genuine predator.
Even though he was different from other humans, even though he was a mutant-like existence…. There were still many, many demons who suffered from bruised egoes after getting royally pillaged by a lone human being.
Most demons believed that one’s power decided the station of the one in question, so they accepted Yi Ji-Hyuk as a demon king. But on the other hand, there were quite a few who accepted the fact of a measly human becoming a demon king with much displeasure.
Delkaran was one of the latter demons.
‘How dare a frail human….’ (Delkaran)
Back when Yi Ji-Hyuk was roaming around the demon world as if it was his backyard, Delkaran wouldn’t have dared to stand before him.
Because, it’d be no different to killing oneself when getting spotted by that devil-like man who simply destroyed, shattered, and disintegrated everything he saw.
Even the supreme being that Delkaran served tried to avoid direct confrontation with Yi Ji-Hyuk at all cost, too.
“Oii, oii.” (Alpha)
Delkaran’s lengthening thoughts were broken off by Alpha’s calling.
“If you can’t give me the payment upfront, fine. You can give it to me later. You’re making me feel all guilty if you think that hard about it, you know?” (Alpha)
Delkaran’s red eyes wavered again.
“I was thinking about something else for a while.” (Delkaran)
Delkaran raised its right hand quite slowly.
“Oh, human. Hear me, all demon kind fulfil their promises. I shall even uphold the deal that foolish 82nd demon king could not. I shall grant you power. The contract of the demons are a truly sacred event. Do not forget.” (Delkaran)
Jet-black Mana coagulating on Delkaran’s right hand suddenly shot out towards Alpha.
He sensed something digging deep into his body and began shivering immediately.
What was this?
*SFX for a long, long painful groan from Alpha*
Too bad for him, his thoughts couldn’t continue on for long, as the pain rushing in proved to be incredibly vicious.
His entire being was visited by the kind of pain that felt like a sharp dagger was making a mincemeat out of his innards as well as outside flesh by stabbing him tens of thousands, nay, millions of times.
He tried to endure it, but such pain couldn’t be endured by anyone. Alpha collapsed to the floor and began spasming violently.
“Humans always digest Mana in the exact same manner.” (Argolas)
Delkaran shook its head at Argolas’s observation.
“I’ve given him over ten times the amount of Mana that I’d normally bestow unto humans. I shall praise him if he doesn’t lose his consciousness or try to end his own life right here.” (Delkaran)
The demon king actually gave the amount of magical energy that could be seen as a bit too much by some as the price of the human’s cheekiness. But even then, Alpha was enduring against it much to Delkaran’s surprise.
‘He exceeds regular humans in terms of his mental fortitude, doesn’t he?’ (Delkaran)
Not just by a small amount, but by a great deal, too. Although not as extreme as Yi Ji-Hyuk, this human could also be seen as an irregular, as well.
“Without a doubt, there is value in researching these beings called humans.” (Delkaran)
They might be a race of weaklings, but every now and then they would produce one or two beings that would make even the demons stand in awe.
Demons, as a matter of fact, could estimate the ultimate limits of the powers Dragons possessed – beings widely accepted as the most powerful existences in the current times. But on the other hand, demons couldn’t even begin to imagine the true limits of humans once they started growing stronger.
Blood oozed out from Alpha’s fingertips as all of his fingernails had been pulled out after he clawed the floor desperately. Bubbles of blood boiled out from his distorted mouth in the meantime.
The pained moans gradually softened. Delkaran watched Alpha with a greater deal of interest now.
“Is he already adapting to the Mana?” (Delkaran)
What a surprising thing this was.
It’d normally require at least one hour for all the magical energy the demon king gave to fully assimilate with Alpha’s body. He’d need to suffer though indescribably hellish pain during that hour, yet the human’s painful groans and spasms were beginning to lessen already now.
Was he enduring against the level of pain that even demons wouldn’t be able to tolerate?
“Indeed. Humans are entertaining creatures.” (Delkaran)
This was why Delkaran opposed the annihilation of human kind.
Alpha slowly raised his head back up, his eyes completely red after the blood vessels in there had all ruptured.
“Now that really hurt.” (Alpha)
“But, that pain wasn’t something those simple words could convey, though?” (Argolas)
“Yes, you’re right.” (Alpha)
Argolas tilted its head. It just realised that the way Alpha spoke had changed somewhat.
“Have you grown to fear us once you tasted what true pain was like?” (Argolas)
Alpha deeply smirked at Argolas’s words.
“Let me put it this way. Doesn’t the notion of being respectful or speaking politely sound funny to you, when you haven’t done anything for me but kept telling me to do this and that all the time? What’s the point of having power? You were still mooching off of me at the end of the day, anyway.” (Alpha)
Truly, it was still difficult to understand how humans think.
Argolas shook its head.
“Not just Yi Ji-Hyuk, but even you, too. Humans are seriously strange creatures.” (Argolas)
“You shouldn’t paint the entirety of humanity with the same brush just because of two outliers. Also, I can’t say the same thing about myself but here’s the thing. Even among the human race, that dude Yi Ji-Hyuk is one really strange case, you know? It’ll be easier if you don’t think of him as a human being from the get-go. Even I find him strange, I’ll have you know.” (Alpha)
“Is that so?” (Argolas)
That sounded logical – even back in Berafe, almost no one saw Yi Ji-Hyuk as a human being. It was actually the Dragons that treated him as a human, while the rest of humanity treated him as an abominable devil that needed to be eradicated at all cost.
It seemed that the way people treated him hadn’t changed much even in this world. Even Alpha, who was now seen as an irregular by the demons, also didn’t see Yi Ji-Hyuk as a human.
“Should I say he reigns supreme, or he’s just lonely freak….” (Delkaran)
“I beg your pardon, oh great one?” (Argolas)
“It’s nothing.” (Delkaran)
Delkaran shifted its gaze over to Alpha again. And it saw the Dark Mana yet to assimilate with the human’s body going on a rampage inside.
Regardless of what was going on inside his body, though, Alpha had regained his relaxed demeanour at least on the outside.
“How commendable.” (Delkaran)
Delkaran acknowledged Alpha. One would be hard pressed to find a demon capable of withstanding that much pain as easily as this human right here.
“Truly commendable, indeed.” (Delkaran)
“I thank you.” (Alpha)
Alpha politely bowed his head. Of course, Delkaran wouldn’t miss the minute trace of ridicule hidden within that gesture of politeness.
‘Even such points are to my liking.’ (Delkaran)
There was no doubt that this human was one amusing existence. And also, he’d prove to be a big asset moving on.
His thoughts might be unsavoury in nature, but then again, all humans possessed such sides to them so there was nothing to sweat over in that regard.
Most importantly, though….
‘It doesn’t matter what scheme this human cooks up.’ (Delkaran)
In front of an absolute, overwhelming power, every carefully-laid plan would become empty and meaningless, anyway.
“Oh, human. We’ve upheld our side of the bargain.” (Delkaran)
“It took a long while, but still, yes. You have.” (Alpha)
“Which means, it’s time you start working for our cause once more.” (Delkaran)
Alpha stared deeply at Delkaran.
Did he make a mistake when he thought he saw the demon king’s red eyes arch slightly into some sort of a smile?
Those eyes were full of dreadful foreboding of things to come.
< 206. And they say there’s no one to trust in this world! -1 > Fin.