(TL: Told from Yi Ji-Hyuk’s 1st person view.)
I didn’t really care much about what they called me with. There were so many ‘names’ they came up with, too.
Devil, phantom, fiend, the one who brought the apocalypse, the tyrant of Berunhai….
Wasn’t there some others, too?
One thing was for sure, though – I’ve never, ever received a positive title before. So, there was no reason for me to feel hurt for being called all sorts of ugly names like those.
My monster army began pillaging some village or rather with a name I couldn’t remember.
“You fiend!! What did we do to you to deserve this?!”
I stared with disinterest at an old man shouting at me.
What you did to me?
I wonder. Well, I wasn’t really sure whether you did something bad to me or not, you know? But, you probably hadn’t done anything.
But the thing was….
I too, didn’t do anything wrong in this world, you see. Even then, you lot just couldn’t wait to kill me, and did everything in your power to suppress me and attack me.
How amusing all of that was.
It didn’t mean that I simply hated you. You see, if you keep enduring against the thick, pervading malice of others wanting to completely obliterate you for as long as I have, a part of your brain would surely go coo-coo in a weird way.
Me? Well, I was always forcibly put right again and again, though.
Before I crossed over to this world, I used to wonder what kind of horsesh*t was this thing about courts handing out sentences with mitigating circumstances as the accused went mad due to surrounding factors.
But now that I have experienced it myself, those words sure made a great deal of sense.
If it weren’t for this brain of mine that did its very best to revert back to how it was, I’d have become a crazed lunatic by now.
No, hang on. Maybe, I was insane to begin with?
(TL: Back to 3rd person perspective)
In the distance, a cloud of dust was being kicked up.
The pride of the Arke Kingdom, the order of Holy Knights were hurriedly dashing towards this location while riding on their pure-white steeds.
“Hmm….” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)
You know, I can’t help but think about this whenever I see a spectacle like that…. (Yi Ji-Hyuk’s inner monologue)
Could it be that the hardest challenge in maintaining that kind of a Knight Order had nothing to do with cultivating the next generation of Holy Knights, but actually, feeding and keeping hundreds of such pristine white-coloured horses?
I mean, it’s not as if white horses are commonly found everywhere, so they really did an excellent work gathering them all like that. (Yi Ji-Hyuk’s inner monologue)
Yi Ji-Hyuk formed a sly grin and gestured with his hand.
His yellowing hand revealed from beneath his black robe was now pointing at the approaching Order of the Holy Knights.
“Go devour them.” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)
There it was, the monstrous roars.
Roars of monsters, frightening enough to rip a person’s heart apart resounded seemingly throughout the entire world. And then, the army of monsters advanced voraciously forward.
Indeed, the army formed with nothing but monsters and large enough to completely fill up the entire horizon voraciously pounced towards the Holy Knights.
These Holy Knights, brainwashed by their devotion and reputed to never fear death, slowed down their once-valiant charge and spat out frightened gasps.
This thing called faith, isn’t it a funny concept?
Didn’t you lot always proclaim that your lives are not actually yours? (Yi Ji-Hyuk’s inner monologue)
“Do not fear!”
“Our God is with us!!”
Those words were not wrong.
In a world where divine powers were a real deal, someone being able to use divinity had this faint but undeniable connection with the idea of you being personally blessed by the God in question. So, indeed, not wrong words.
Except that, these people were deeply mistaken about something else.
“Nothing will change even if your God is protecting you.” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)
He was the fiend.
He was the devil.
He crawled out of the bottom of this world until he finally grabbed hold of the power that could even trample on a God. He was none other than the man who willingly joined hands with demons in order to fight against Gods.
That was why he should be labelled ‘demon’.
The Bringer of Apocalypse.
He was bringing to reality the name they stuck him with.
Ferocious beasts and monsters charged forward in a wild, crazed chaos. It was similar to a churning black-and-red ocean.
At this endlessly-stretching, absolutely overwhelming sea of monsters, the Holy Knights all lost their cool.
Who would have thought it’d be like this?
They all heard the passing rumours, but how could it be of this magnitude?
How could anyone stop this?
“The Bringer of Apocalypse….”
That name was no exaggeration.
As the title implied, he was the man bringing about the end of this world.
“You abominable demon!!”
“I curse you!! Curse you!! Our God will never forgive you!!”
They wanted to curse a demon?
Yi Ji-Hyuk broke out in a hollow chuckle after hearing that somewhat odd and weird notion.
Didn’t that strangely sound about right?
Screams of humans being swept away and the beastly howls of monsters reverberated loudly like a massive orchestra.
‘I’ve had enough of this.’ (Yi Ji-Hyuk)
Yi Ji-Hyuk watched the village getting destroyed with a disinterested expression and sat down on the spot. Monsters used their bodies to create a chair and he took a seat there. He then pointed to the front.
“Let’s go. We’ve wasted too much time here.” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)
An army of monsters and giants made out of steel began marching forward.
They proceeded to destroy every single thing standing in their path, and then destroyed some more while advancing forward.
The only thing remaining in their wake was rubble. Utter ruination.
The monster army that had greedily devoured everything to the last drop of blood, was now marching towards Terra Latrel.
It was here that Yi Ji-Hyuk opened his eyes.
‘….A dream?’ (Yi Ji-Hyuk)
If it was, then what a boring dream it was.
He’d like to not participate in a dream which was lacking in imagination, lacked in any fun sequences and was nothing more than a repeat of the past.
It also only made him feel dirty, too.
“You’re awake?” (Affeldrichae)
He woke up from a Berafe-related dream, only to see Affeldrichae’s face above his, which was also not something to be all that happy about.
“How long was I asleep for?” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)
“Maybe two days?” (Affeldrichae)
“I sure slept for long.” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)
Affeldrichae’s soft, supple hair tumbled lower and tickled Yi Ji-Hyuk’s face.
“You seem to be quite sour right now. I can also sense a minute amount of hostility directed towards me, too. Were you dreaming of Berafe again?” (Affeldrichae)
“It’s fine for you to guess what’s in another person’s mind, but it’s really not wise to openly mention it like you have.” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)
“It’s fine. You have never been a man to care much about minor things, anyway.” (Affeldrichae)
But, that’s not true?
I do care about stuff like that?
I’m really narrow-minded, you know? (Yi Ji-Hyuk’s inner monologue)
Yi Ji-Hyuk let out a short Groan, and raised his torso up. However, Affeldrichae quietly pushed down on his forehead.
“You need to rest for a little while longer.” (Affeldrichae)
“But, my body’s itching to move.” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)
“Even then, you still need to rest. I hope you aren’t mistakenly thinking that your body is normal now.” (Affeldrichae)
Yi Ji-Hyuk couldn’t refute that.
“You’ve went and did something pretty astonishing.” (Affeldrichae)
“Well, I didn’t have any other choice.” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)
“If Delkaran didn’t help you out at the end, we wouldn’t even be able to do anything to save you. What meaning is there if you died after protecting this world?” (Affeldrichae)
“I did it, cuz I was about to die before that.” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)
“That’s ironic.” (Affeldrichae)
“Whatever it is, stop trying to argue with your logic, okay? You overweight flying lizard.” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)
Yi Ji-Hyuk’s protesting only managed to elicit a gentle chuckle from Affeldrichae.
“…You laughed?” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)
He stared at her with a face half mixed with surprise and dissatisfaction.
Did Affeldrichae ever chuckle like that before? Sure, she had displayed many vague, odd expressions before. And she also formed bright smiles, too.
However, it felt like this was his first time seeing her chuckle like that.
“Even though you’re a Dragon, you sure like to pretend as a human, don’t you?” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)
“I think the same, as well.” (Affeldrichae)
She readily admitted that she had changed a lot. Considering that Dragons were creatures of logic, magic, and unchanging nature, such a change might not necessarily for the best.
From the get-go, ‘changing’ was an event that would greatly shake up the foundation of what a Dragon’s ‘ego’ was supposed to be.
But, in all honesty, she didn’t feel that this change wasn’t as bad as it seemed to be.
‘No need to obsess over it.’ (Affeldrichae)
A Dragon had to do things this way, Affeldrichae had to do things that way – that was simply a rigid idea she herself came up with, anyway.
While looking at Yi Ji-Hyuk, she realised something. Whether he was a demon king or a human, that wasn’t important. No, what was important was the fact that he was ‘Yi Ji-Hyuk’.
He had surpassed his kind and the gazes of everyone else to become who he was. Affeldrichae also wanted to become like him.
“What are you still giggling for?” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)
Affeldrichae’s expression hardened next.
“I’m sure you’ll try to do something similar again in the future.” (Affeldrichae)
“Why don’t you save your nagging for someone who listens?” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)
“I don’t plan to stop you. Because, that’s just how you are. No matter how much I try to stop you, I’m certain that you’ll never change.” (Affeldrichae)
Yi Ji-Hyuk wordlessly shifted his gaze away.
“However, you need to remember this. For the things you wish to protect to have a meaning, you need to survive first. A world that you no longer exist can’t be a world for you anymore. You mustn’t try to put the cart before the horse.” (Affeldrichae)
“Yes, yes. I heard your nagging loud and clear.” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)
Affeldrichae’s hand pressing down on his forehead suddenly gained extra force.
“….Ma’am, my skull might get crushed at this rate.” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)
“Oh, my. I’m sorry. I momentarily forgot how fragile a human’s body can be.” (Affeldrichae)
But, it looks to me as if you considered that before pressing down as hard as you wanted to? (Yi Ji-Hyuk’s inner monologue)
Yi Ji-Hyuk shook his head and stood up from the bed. Affeldrichae didn’t try to stop his this time.
“Blending two energy types is just too dangerous.” (Affeldrichae)
“I know.” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)
“But, will you still resort to using that method?” (Affeldrichae)
“H-mm….” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)
If only he had another way. If he did, he’d already began relying on it by now.
“I guess I’ll have to look for another way.” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)
Talking was cheap, though. In the end, there was only one other way.
And that was to find a source of Mana supply which was both stable and continuous. However, where would he find something like that in this place?
‘Dark Mana’ was something that originated from the demon world. And if he wanted a steady supply of dark Mana, he needed to open up a link with the demon world, too.
However, opening up link with that place meant the exact same thing as opening up a Gate that led directly to the demon world.
If a group of demon kings decided to invade this world through that link, then he’d have no recourse to stop them. It’d end up as him driving this world to its doom for the sake of Mana supply.
“For the time being….” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)
Yi Ji-Hyuk decided to stop thinking about that matter. It wasn’t something he could resolve by worrying about it now. There was something more urgent than that right now, too.
“Did Delkaran really die?” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)
“You witnessed it, didn’t you?” (Affeldrichae)
“Right, he died. Sure. I know he definitely died, but well….” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)
He fell into a deep pit of contemplation. He seemed to ponder something for a long while before tilting his head.
“But, what could the reason be for my anxiety, then?” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)
“What do you mean?” (Affeldrichae)
“From a little while ago, I feel really tight-chested and anxious. I thought that this reaction was me instinctively sensing the trace of a demon king descending on this world, but that doesn’t look like the cause. Delkaran’s dead, so my anxiety should’ve gone away, but it’s still there.” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)
Affeldrichae formed a hard-to-read expression and stared at Yi Ji-Hyuk.
If someone else said the same thing, she’d have laughed it off and glossed over the whole thing. She was neither too idle to place great importance on a groundless anxiety that came about out of nowhere, nor did she trust the so-called sixth sense of humans, to begin with.
However, the story was different when it came to Yi Ji-Hyuk. She had experienced many times how extraordinarily sharp his sixth sense was.
So, if he began feeling weirded out by this anxiety, then there must be a good reason for it. Just like in the past.
“It seems that our troubles aren’t over yet.” (Affeldrichae)
“Looks that way. What’s more strange is that, although I do feel anxious, I don’t feel threatened for some reason.” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)
His sixth sense was operating strangely indeed, giving him mixed signals.
“There’s no use worrying about it for now. However, we should try to resolve the problem facing us right now first.” (Affeldrichae)
“Problems facing us?” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)
What happened, then?
A demon king had been beaten back, yet there was a new problem?
“While you were asleep, many things happened.” (Affeldrichae)
“In only two days?” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)
“For sure, humans prove to be very difficult species to comprehend. Rather than hearing my explanation, I believe it’ll be quicker to see for it yourself.” (Affeldrichae)
“I have no idea what you’re on about.” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)
Yi Ji-Hyuk put his clothes on and exited his room. Indeed, it’d be so much better for his blood pressure to just go and find out for himself what’s going on, rather than continue to talk to Affeldrichae and listen to her vague ways of explaining things.
Once he opened the door to his room and came out to the living room, he was greeted by the sight of his mom and little sister, both of their expressions sombre and glum, watching the TV while sitting on the couch.
“Ah, Ji-Hyuk-ah. How are you feeling?” (mom)
“I’m fine.” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)
“….Why do you keep getting hurt whenever you go outside? Mom is really getting worried, you know.” (mom)
“I was just tired this time, that’s all. By the way, what’s going on over there?” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)
Yi Ji-Hyuk shifted his gaze over to the TV screen and tilted his head.
“Huh?” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)
And then, his irises opened up wider. On it, a sight of a tank firing its lethal load was playing out, albeit in a slow motion.
“What’s this?” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)
A tank firing stuff wasn’t something to be surprised about. No, the real problem was with the target for the tank’s strike; it was firing at other human beings.
“Is it… war??” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)
Yi Ji-Hyuk’s expression crumpled unsightly.
Fights between monsters and people.
A battle between the demon king and humans.
Continuing on from those hellish battles, humans were now engaging each other in warfare.
“What the f*ck….” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)
Yi Ji-Hyuk tightly clenched his fists.
< 225. It’ll be quicker to learn with your body! -5 > Fin.