A black portal materialised right in front of Borencha. The demon king turned its head and quietly glared in the general direction of Erukana and the collapsed Yi Ji-Hyuk before baring its fangs in a threatening manner, then it slowly strode inside this black portal.
Argolas too followed after the demon king and entered this doorway.
“Huh? Well, this is awkward…” (Alpha)
Alpha began scratching his cheeks.
“Unlike you cool demon beings, I have allies on this side, you know. I kind of expected you to coolly declare, ‘Become my allies’, and take us all in under your wings, but if you decide to just leave by yourself in this situation, then well, I can’t help but feel that I’m going to get beaten up to death here. Mm…” (Alpha)
He then shifted his gaze over to Choi Jeong-Hoon.
“You weren’t planning to continue on with this massacre, I hope? In that case, will it be alright with you if I gather my comrades and get out of this place, too?” (Alpha)
“Son of a b*tch…” (Choi Jeong-Hoon)
Choi Jeong-Hoon gritted his teeth.
“If you don’t want that, then I guess we’ll have to continue fighting, but the way I see it, neither of our sides are in any shape to fight anymore. Wouldn’t you agree?” (Alpha)
“Whatever, just undo the restriction on the teleportation already.” (Choi Jeong-Hoon)
“That’s already been undone.” (Alpha)
Choi Jeong-Hoon sighed at length and raised his head to look at Erukana.
“We shall move back to South Korea first. Mister Yi Ji-Hyuk’s treatment is our current priority.” (Choi Jeong-Hoon)
Erukana stared at Choi Jeong-Hoon with a look that asked, ‘what on earth are you talking about?’
“Is there a need for further treatment?” (Erukana)
“Pardon?” (Choi Jeong-Hoon)
Feeling confused, he turned his head to look and sure enough, Yi Ji-Hyuk’s chest had reverted to its original state.
“…Huh?” (Choi Jeong-Hoon)
Up until only a second ago, it looked as if new flesh was just barely covering the gaping hole there, so how could such a grievous wound be perfectly healed like this?
“Hmm. Well, I guess. I also don’t want my darling to be lying on the cold hard floor, too.” (Erukana)
Erukana then opened her own Gate.
“Going through this will take you to your office. I’ve some other matters to attend to, so take my darling and return to South Korea before me.” (Erukana)
“…Yes, ma’am.” (Choi Jeong-Hoon)
Choi Jeong-Hoon had already come to grips with the fact that him being here and wasting time would not change anything. He ordered others to enter the Gate first, and while watching them shuffle inside the portal with a bitter expression, asked Erukana.
“Why did ‘he’ retreat without fighting back?” (Choi Jeong-Hoon)
“Who? You mean, Borencha?” (Erukana)
“Yes.” (Choi Jeong-Hoon)
Erukana grinned like the Cheshire Cat.
“Aren’t you a curious little human? However, also a dumb one, too. The reason for their retreat is pretty simple. It’s fear.” (Erukana)
“Fear, is it…” (Choi Jeong-Hoon)
Choi Jeong-Hoon’s brain kicked into gear and quickly calculated the overall level of the combat force.
“Meaning, you’re scary, Miss Erukana.” (Choi Jeong-Hoon)
“Hmm. Yup, you’re dumb.” (Erukana)
“Pardon?” (Choi Jeong-Hoon)
“Even if I’m strong, it’s not to the extent of scaring the pants off the demon kings in the lower seats. No, what they are scared of isn’t me, but my darling.” (Erukana)
“…Excuse me?” (Choi Jeong-Hoon)
Choi Jeong-Hoon found it hard to understand Erukana’s words. Why would a creature on the level of ‘demon king’ be scared of Yi Ji-Hyuk, currently unconscious, and beat a hasty retreat?
“A human is incapable of understanding it. So, for now, why don’t you focus on moving my darling first?” (Erukana)
“Yes, ma’am. Will do.” (Choi Jeong-Hoon)
Choi Jeong-Hoon lifted and placed Yi Ji-Hyuk up on his back. That prompted both Kim Dah-Som and Jeong Hae-Min to stick very close to his sides. While stepping across the Gate, however – he couldn’t help but steal a fleeting glance behind him.
…At the completely destroyed Pyongyang, and the ‘new world’ that had invaded this place.
‘It’s our complete loss.’ (Choi Jeong-Hoon)
Bitterness filled his heart.
Everything in the world was now beneath his feet.
As long as he willed it, everything could be destroyed, or become subjects under his rule.
However, he couldn’t celebrate this feat.
All he ever wanted was this one little thing. And acquiring the immense power capable of destroying the world wasn’t enough for him to acquire that thing. That’s why he couldn’t rejoice.
The eternal rest.
His mind, dried up like a twig in a desert through the passage of incalculable time, made him lament the fact that he couldn’t go insane, then made him curse his fate where he could never become insane even in the future.
The one who’d bring upon destruction to the world.
The demon world’s one and true demon king.
The opposer of the gods.
Despite acquiring all those varied titles and authority, he just didn’t feel like rejoicing.
“Two thousand? Three?” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)
At this point, even the passage of time itself meant nothing to him.
He could more or less guess the amount of time he spent in this world by looking at its history. But that was about it. For one thing, all that time he spent in the demon world wasn’t included in the history of this other world. The time that truly felt like an unending eternity.
In that case, just how long had he been alive for?
Every human he formed connections with all died one after the other like ants.
One moment, that person would be perfectly alive, but the next second, they were already a rotting pile of bones.
The infinite time.
And the infinite loneliness and eternal pain.
His body, and also his mind, might have been immortal, but his soul was slowly and steadily eroding away.
Inside the highest floor of the tower he had built, Yi Ji-Hyuk was simply letting the time pass him by.
While keeping his eyes shut…
While stuck in the despair of not being able to do or achieve anything…
“You look bored, darling.” (Erukana)
A demon king’s whisper tickled his ears.
Yi Ji-Hyuk raised his head and stared at the demon king.
She had been by his side from the very beginning right up until the end. As she was not a human but a demonic creature, she too lived an eternal life just like him.
Unfortunately, she was a demon. A demon king, at that; an existence that fundamentally could not understand the state of his emotions.
“At this rate, you’ll be not that much different from a corpse, you know? Of course, I’ll still love you regardless of whether you’re a corpse or not, darling.” (Erukana)
“Hmm, looks like you’ve lost all will to live. This is why vitality and drive are important to all living beings. Darling, I found out something really interesting recently, so… You want me to tell you?” (Erukana)
Everything was so bothersome and meaningless to him.
“Get lost, before I kill you.” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)
This tower didn’t permit the entrance of any and all living beings.
A place where the ones that could die were not allowed to taint.
The castle only for him, the one blinded by the majestic brilliance of the finitude of all things – where the eminently fair and reasonable happiness called ‘death’ was granted for all living creatures.
“You’re so irritable. I like bad boys, but I hear it’s not easy trying to live with one long term.” (Erukana)
Erukana broke out into a peal of laughter and settled down above Yi Ji-Hyuk’s head.
“Don’t be such a sourpuss, darling. I really am bringing you a piece of news that you’ll be interested in, you know? You might even scoop me up and head straight to bed out of gratitude after listening to what I’ve to say.” (Erukana)
“…I told you to get lost, didn’t I?” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)
“Really? But you’ll regret it.” (Erukana)
Mana began gathering on Yi Ji-Hyuk’s hands.
As they had been together for a very long time, he was letting many of her annoying little traits slide, but if she insisted on bothering him, then there was no more need to keep her alive.
To him, the words ‘relationship’ and ‘connections’ had long lost their meanings.
Erukana sensed him gathering Mana and urgently opened her mouth.
“I found it.” (Erukana)
“I found the way for you to return to your home world.” (Erukana)
Yi Ji-Hyuk’s closed eyes slowly reopened. His eyes, filled with nothing other than emptiness and futility, were now slowly being invaded by hints of life.
“I can go back?” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)
“Ng, darling. Hurry and praise me already.” (Erukana)
“If you’re lying, I’ll make sure that you won’t die even after being killed. Now speak, Erukana. How can I return to my home world?” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)
“Mm, well. It’s a bit hard to explain, but… Darling, you’ve been searching for a way to go back to your home world through magical powers, right?” (Erukana)
“That’s right.” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)
“Since a sorcerer of my darling’s level can’t find a way even after aeons of research, we should look at it from the other side. It could mean that everything was wrong from the very beginning, right? So, what if it wasn’t an issue solvable by magic, but something possible only with divinity’s intervention?” (Erukana)
“…Divinity?” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)
Yi Ji-Hyuk’s expression began distorting unsightly.
“Are you saying that broad who yaps on about whatever she feels like has been stopping me?” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)
Erukana clapped her hands as if to say, ‘Well done!’
Yi Ji-Hyuk slowly stood up from his throne. Dust that had settled on him after decades of inactivity fell down to the floor.
“If that’s the case, then you better speak the rest. If I rip Latrel to pieces, will that solve my problem?” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)
“H-ng, I don’t recommend you doing that. These existences called the gods are basically immaterial so you can’t kill them physically, you see. So, I’ll rather recommend that you acquire a medium of some sort that allows you to use a god’s power.” (Erukana)
“A medium?” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)
“Right. I’m sure you’ve also heard about it, darling. The Eye of Latrel.” (Erukana)
Yi Ji-Hyuk tilted his head.
“The Eye of Latrel?” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)
“It’s Latrel’s divine artefact kept in Terra Latrel. I hear it’s a religious item containing the condensed power of Latrel, and according to my investigation… If you use that eye, you can look into other worlds beyond the dimensions.” (Erukana)
“I see.” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)
Yi Ji-Hyuk instantly understood what she was saying.
Dimensions were infinitely variable.
The reason why he simply didn’t throw himself into the rift between dimensions was because there was a very good chance that he’d end up getting lost for all eternity. No matter how mighty he was, if he got lost in a world without the supply of Mana, then he could very well end up spending an eternity unable to either live or die.
However, if he could see the world beyond the dimensional wall before crossing over? Then he’d be able to choose the correct one.
“So, where can I find this Eye?” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)
“I told you, it’s at Terra Latrel. But darling, you need to be careful. The Eye is the divine artefact of Latrel, so the whole world will try to stop you. And Latrel herself will probably also step in, too.” (Erukana)
Yi Ji-Hyuk broke out into laughter.
At first, it was soft, quiet. However, his chuckles soon morphed into a crazed cackle that loudly reverberated throughout his castle.
“Stop me? They want to stop me?” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)
Yi Ji-Hyuk’s feet began striding forward. For the first time in decades.
“Tell them to try if they can. I shall simply destroy the world, then.” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)
The Bringer of Apocalypse slowly took a new step forward.
Yi Ji-Hyuk slowly opened his eyes.
‘…A ceiling?’ (Yi Ji-Hyuk)
A familiar ceiling greeted him.
It was his room, back in his house.
He shifted his head and confirmed his surroundings. Kim Dah-Som and Jeong Hae-Min were sitting on chairs dozing away, and he could feel a hand gently stroking his head.
“Where have you been?” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)
“I’ve always been by your side.” (Affeldrichae)
“Tsk.” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)
He looked up at Affeldrichae stroking his hair and spoke.
“I’m suddenly curious about something.” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)
“Why did Latrel try to stop me?” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)
“From her perspective, wouldn’t it have been better if I disappeared from that world even a minute sooner? I just can’t understand why she’d block me, even going as far as to send an oracle, of all things. All that sacrifice was too absurd just for the sake of protecting a single divine artefact, you know? Even if it was to prevent me from acquiring the Eye of Latrel.” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)
“Who can guess what her true intentions were?” (Affeldrichae)
“You can legit claim to be the closest to her than anyone alive, yet even you don’t know what’s up? In a certain sense, you’re an existence that knows Latrel’s intentions better than a holy maiden or something, right?” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)
“The goddess doesn’t explain.” (Affeldrichae)
“No, she simply observes.” (Affeldrichae)
“What bulls*t notion that is.” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)
Yi Ji-Hyuk slowly raised his body up from the bed.
“In that case, she should’ve ‘observed’ till the end. Why did she bother to interfere in the first place?” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)
Affeldrichae smiled airily.
“But you still won against her will and reached this world, didn’t you? Aren’t you satisfied with that?” (Affeldrichae)
“I didn’t say anything. I’m merely curious, that’s all.” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)
“If you’re so curious, why not meet her personally and ask? I’m certain that she won’t reject you seeking an audience with her. Will you head to Berafe, then?” (Affeldrichae)
“Utter nonsense. She…” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)
Before Yi Ji-Hyuk could finish his retort, the bedroom door was pushed open and Choi Jeong-Hoon strode inside.
Seeing how stiff his expression was, Yi Ji-Hyuk instantly furrowed his brows.
< 392. Just What Is Going On? -2 > Fin.