“Drain.” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)
Yi Ji-Hyuk began sucking in the mass of Mana. Its concentration was so high that rather than regular Mana, it felt like a completely different ‘something’ else, instead.
“Keuh-euh-euhk.” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)
He gritted his teeth. The pure Mana dug into his body and clashed against the dark Mana residing within him.
“Wu-euhph.” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)
He bit down hard on his lip.
It felt like a bomb had gone off inside.
The magical energy endlessly flowed in and repeatedly wrecked, cut apart, and blew up his innards. The continuous clashes caused impact ripples to explode out from his body.
Erukana sensed Yi Ji-Hyuk’s current condition and tried to approach him, but stopped herself. She remembered that interfering now would only endanger him even further so she couldn’t do anything.
She was well aware of how dangerous the collision of two Manas possessing opposing qualities could be.
Not only that, Mana inside Yi Ji-Hyuk and the new Mana being sucked in were just too large to be stored in a person’s body.
Once both Manas combined into one, the total amount should easily exceed what a high-ranking Demon King possessed. Such Manas were busy colliding inside his body, so it was already a miracle that he wasn’t ripped into pieces by now.
If she was talking about the sturdy physique of a demon king, fine, but Yi Ji-Hyuk’s body still remained within the physical constraints of a human being. Even if he came back to Earth and acquired Ether which in turn reinforced his body somewhat, it was still a human’s body at the end of the day.
Even the best body reinforcement type in the world, Park Seong-Chan, was only on the level of scraps of paper easily torn apart by a single demon king.
Erukana looked at Yi Ji-Hyuk with worry-filled eyes.
She should’ve stopped this when considering the pain he’d suffer and the danger he’d be under, but she couldn’t do that. As the boundary between Earth and the demon world grew unstable, one’s weakness would eventually become the slowly-tightening noose.
He needed to regain at least half of his former strength if he wanted to have any chance of survival.
She knew that, so she couldn’t stop him at all.
“Keuh-euh-euh….” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)
Yi Ji-Hyuk’s body finally couldn’t endure the reaction and began rupturing in places.
Erukana yelled out loudly, and Affeldrichae practically flew to her side.
“Heal him.” (Erukana)
“Can’t you see it’s already clashing inside him?” (Erukana)
Now normally, Yi Ji-Hyuk’s body would be destroyed by doing that, but the light and dark Manas were already busy colliding inside his body. He was crumbling away anyway, so a little extra injection of light Mana wouldn’t change the matters.
Affeldrichae understood what Erukana was saying here and quickly cast Heal on Yi Ji-Hyuk.
“Mister Ji-Hyuk, be strong.” (Affeldrichae)
This was all she could do.
His temple ruptured and blood spewed out like a fountain.
The crimson blood splattered on Erukana’s face but she didn’t back away one step and continued to observe him, both of her eyes wide open.
“Keuk.” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)
Yi Ji-Hyuk gritted his teeth.
‘Is this really meant to kill me?’ (Yi Ji-Hyuk)
If someone set this trap up knowing that Yi Ji-Hyuk would try to absorb this Mana, then it should be called a truly inspired effort, that’s for sure. The concentration of Mana exceeding his prior estimation rushed into his body as soon as he began absorbing it.
This energy was so highly concentrated that he couldn’t end ‘Drain’ midway even though his body was rapidly filling up. Sure, it might be rather inefficient way to kill him, but it was also pretty logical, too.
He knew that his theory was nonsense, but that was how critical the condition of his body currently was.
The two Manas that could easily blow up Seoul in its entirety if they collided in the open were busy headbutting each other inside his body. Without his exacting control over Mana gained through near-infinite amount of experience, he’d have died after his flesh exploded to bits by now.
A very precarious “walking on a tightrope” situation was currently unfolding.
“….Can he continue to withstand it?” (Affeldrichae)
Affeldrichae asked but that only elicited a sharp retort from Erukana, instead.
“How should I know, you dumb cow?!” (Erukana)
Although her expression remained the same, Erukana was deeply anxious inside, as well.
Affeldrichae studied Yi Ji-Hyuk with worried concentration.
It was almost impossible to absorb into one’s body two disparate types of Manas that attacked each other. Even if that person was Yi Ji-Hyuk.
He was quickly converting all regular Mana entering him to dark Mana and stored them. The problem with doing that was he needed to accept the ‘light’ Mana continuously in his body.
Yi Ji-Hyuk’s tightly clenched teeth were breaking under the pressure.
His flesh was rupturing, his bones couldn’t endure against the pressure and turned to powder, but all of his wounds were healed by Affeldrichae’s magic – only for the cycle to repeat again and again.
“What about his mind?” (Affeldrichae)
Affeldrichae urgently shouted out.
“His mind will break first! This has already gone past the level of what a human can endure! He no longer enjoys an immortal body, too!” (Affeldrichae)
“I know, so shut up.” (Erukana)
“I said, shut up!” (Erukana)
Killing intent was thickly permeating Erukana’s voice.
“A lizard dares to question my hubby’s mental fortitude?” (Erukana)
“As a human, he managed to climb up to the position of a demon king. No human alive could’ve done that regardless of fixed body state or not. He possesses a powerful mind that the likes of you can’t even fathom so keep your mouth shut and just watch.” (Erukana)
Affeldrichae bit her lower lip.
She was well aware of how strong Yi Ji-Hyuk’s mind was. She had spent much more time with him than anyone else, after all.
However, now wasn’t the time to blindly place one’s faith.
He was no longer the same man from the past who could immediately recover from whatever injuries he had suffered. His body was currently being maintained by Affeldrichae’s healing magic. Even then, every repeated cycle of suffering and healing placed a heavy load on his mental state.
A regular person would’ve already died in shock in less than one second from pure pain alone, yet she had to simply watch and do nothing?
“No need to worry.” (Erukana)
Erukana spoke in a low, gloomy voice.
“He’s not a weak man. I wouldn’t have fallen for such a man, anyway.” (Erukana)
Her sharp eyes were fixed unwaveringly on Yi Ji-Hyuk.
However, her hands were trembling ever so faintly.
‘Huh?’ (Yi Ji-Hyuk)
Yi Ji-Hyuk became aware of something.
Did I black out for a moment there? Why do I feel so numb?
N-no, hang on a minute….
Why can’t I see anything? (Yi Ji-Hyuk’s inner monologue)
Yi Ji-Hyuk tried to move his body.
At the same time, indescribable pain assaulted him.
“Keuh-heuk.” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)
Instantly, the memories he momentarily forgot rushed back in and he clamped his mouth shut. However, a fountain of blood welling up from his innards forced his lips open and still poured out, anyway.
‘H-hey, won’t I die at this rate?’ (Yi Ji-Hyuk)
If there was a scale indicating the balance between life and death, it should be tilting a lot towards the latter right about now.
“How embarrassing.” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)
He wasn’t sure if his words came out correctly. His eyeballs had ruptured and perhaps his eardrums were gone too, because he couldn’t see or hear anything.
Even then, he increased the rate of Mana absorption.
Bones in his hand dragging in the Mana couldn’t endure and began to crumble to powder. Pain so severe that his lips parted all on their own rushed in, but well, he had already experienced such pain countless times before.
One would never get used to pain, sure, but still, his threshold was higher than everyon else’s. As the amount of Mana entering his body increased, he thought he could hear thunderclaps going off inside his already-deafened ears.
He gritted his teeth and forcefully converted all Mana entering him to dark magical energy.
He continued to pile on more and more dark Mana, and soon enough, it began devouring the regular Mana entering his body.
“Whew-woo.” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)
It had stabilised.
Once the dark Mana in his body grew larger than that of the incoming regular Mana, he could absorb and convert the latter without experiencing a great deal of pain.
“Ouch!” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)
However, Mana that didn’t belong anywhere suddenly stabbed him in the side to stimulate his pain sensors. His now-healed eyes shifted to the side to discover Affeldrichae pouring in healing magic.
“Stop!” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)
He waved his hand at her, and she lowered her hands.
‘Ng?’ (Yi Ji-Hyuk)
Her expression was rather unreadable.
I didn’t know that lizard woman could make a face like that.
She’s almost a human now, isn’t she? (Yi Ji-Hyuk’s inner monologue)
Yi Ji-Hyuk smirked before addressing her.
“Well, you might even start crying at this rate?” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)
“Did you know you almost died just now?” (Affeldrichae)
“I wouldn’t die from something like this.” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)
He almost did die, though.
He shook his head and after locking his gaze on the lump of Mana that had shrunken down to the size of a basketball, he gritted his teeth.
“I don’t know which insane b*stard sent me this, but well, if this was a plan to get rid of me, what a cool scheme it was.” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)
One little mistake, and he’d have really died.
Unlike the attacks from demon kings that injured him on the outside, this was happening within his body. If he wasn’t careful, his flesh would explode into bits and pieces, turning into meat chunks that not even healing magic could do anything about.
“Darling, are you alright?” (Erukana)
“Yeah.” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)
Yi Ji-Hyuk lightly nodded his head.
Forget about being alright, he felt as if he could fly now – the slight exaggeration fully intentional, of course.
Although the differing nature did cause him a bit of trouble, it was still true that he managed to get his hands on an enormous amount of Mana today.
‘How long has it been since I sensed this much Mana in me?’ (Yi Ji-Hyuk)
It’d be the first time since arriving on Earth, at least.
Yi Ji-Hyuk checked the nooks and crannies of his body and nodded his head. Being unable to replenish his supply again was a fatal shortcoming, sure, but with this much Mana, he should be able to deal with a regular demon king all by himself.
“It’s a good end result, but still…..” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)
Yi Ji-Hyuk stared at the disappearing Gates, his eyes quietly gleaming.
‘Those Gates were created with me as the target.’ (Yi Ji-Hyuk)
With this much, it should be fine to come to a conclusion based only on suspicions.
Not just the fact that many Gates opened up at the same time, but what came out from them were exactly the same, too – and also the fact that the only two creatures capable of wielding Mana on this planet were just him and Affeldrichae.
When considering all those facts, the end result should be clear.
“But, I just don’t get the purpose behind it.” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)
Yi Ji-Hyuk scratched his head.
Why was the other party doing this?
Was it really to kill him?
If that was the case, then this method was just too inefficient. When thinking about the amount of energy the other side had to sacrifice while trying to send this much Mana over here, then it simply made no bloody sense. No sane person out there would want to swallow such massive losses for a method with an uncertain success rate.
‘There’s definitely something I’ve overlooked….’ (Yi Ji-Hyuk)
Yi Ji-Hyuk shook his head.
No matter how hard he racked his brain, he’d not get any answers. For now, he needed to take care of the mess before his eyes first and wait. The other side would eventually seek him out, either due to good intentions or animosity.
He only needed to deal with it when that time came.
Choi Jeong-Hoon had walked closer by then, and he tried to engage Yi Ji-Hyuk in a conversation.
“How are you feeling?” (Choi Jeong-Hoon)
“….Where have you been?” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)
“Well, I was worried that you might explode, so….” (Choi Jeong-Hoon)
“Ahhh. You were far away because you were worried about getting blood on your clothes. What a neat freak.” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)
“Ehehe. That’s not true.” (Choi Jeong-Hoon)
“I heard that people supposedly don’t find their own blood dirty, so should we really find out with you?” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)
“I’m sorry.” (Choi Jeong-Hoon
Choi Jeong-Hoon hurriedly changed the topic.
“Can you resolve that side now, please?” (Choi Jeong-Hoon)
“That side?” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)
“I mean, the North. If a monster horde of that magnitude rampages about…..” (Choi Jeong-Hoon)
“Ah, that. You’re right, but…..” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)
Yi Ji-Hyuk’s smirk caused Choi Jeong-Hoon to shiver in anxiety.
“I’m starving, so let’s grab a bite to eat first.” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)
“Darling, I want a hamburger.” (Erukana)
Choi Jeong-Hoon glanced at the distant dust clouds to the north.
‘Sorry.’ (Choi Jeong-Hoon)
I did my best, you know.
< 291. Who the hell is Rhee Ji-Hyuk? -1 > Fin.