“A mere delaying tactic.” (Barasga)
Barasga watched the two disappear inside the Gate and licked its face with its long tongue.
That Gate wasn’t connected to another dimension. Meaning, it was safe to assume that no matter where that portal led to, the demon king wouldn’t find itself in danger.
However, there was this one thing that got on its nerves.
‘If the 13th demon king did indeed betray us, then it will be dangerous for me alone.’ (Barasga)
Barasga raised its short arm, then switched on the communication magic.
“I have located the 99th demon king. I seek assistance.” (Barasga)
Currently, over ten demon kings had crossed over to this planet from the demon world. And at least five of them should hold bitter, unresolvable grudges against Yi Ji-Hyuk. They should still remember the horrible suffering that man inflicted upon them back when he was freely pillaging the entire demon world.
If Yi Ji-Hyuk didn’t stop stepping on the demon kings after getting his hands on the ‘Core’, the sacrifices would’ve been even worse.
They had no choice but to keep their mouths shut and suck it up all these years, yet the heavens saw fit to gift them this opportunity.
If this was still the same Yi Ji-Hyuk from the past, then no matter how severe your grudge was, you had no choice but to suck it up. The man called the 99th demon king as well as the Bringer of Apocalypse was not someone you could go up against even if you were also a demon king.
That was the reason why countless demon kings kept their mouths shut. Many were jealous of the fact that as a mere human he still managed to climb up to the peak of the demon world, and so they kept him at an arm’s length, but on the other hand, a surprising number also respected him.
It wasn’t as if they had divided into factions. No, it was only natural for the demon kings to hold a complicated pool of emotions after experiencing the storm called Yi Ji-Hyuk.
As for this Barasga, he was one of the demon kings that held a burning, seething rage-filled grudge against him.
“Well, then. Let us see how much preparation you have made.” (Barasga)
Barasga slowly walked and pushed its large frame inside the Gate.
The transfer was complete and the demon king stepped outside the portal, only to be greeted by an unexpected scenery.
‘Is this…?’ (Barasga)
The sight of Earth that had transformed into ‘demon world’ was welcoming Barasga.
“Demon world transformation, is it?” (Barasga)
The location that the demon world took to calling it the doorway, while humanity labelled it the ‘spot’. The space that connected Earth to the demon world.
“This place is called Pyongyang.” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)
Yi Ji-Hyuk spoke to clear the confusion away while sucking on a cigarette.
As he stood there slowly exhaling the bluish-grey smoke, Erukana busy emitting this decadent beauty and elegance smiled seductively next to him.
“Well, it no longer resembles its past self, though.” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)
Barasga cocked its large head and stared at Yi Ji-Hyuk. For some reason, the aura coming from him seemed to have changed a little during this short period of time. The ‘Yi Ji-Hyuk’ from before gave off the definite ‘I’m a human’ vibe despite looking exactly the same as his past self, but during the short time it took to transfer through the Gate, his aura had transformed noticeably.
‘I don’t get it.’ (Barasga)
Could a human transform so much only through one’s mindset?
Barasga slowly approached Yi Ji-Hyuk.
“99th demon king. It’s time for you to pay for your sins of pillaging and mocking the demon world as you pleased.” (Barasga)
“What was that?” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)
Yi Ji-Hyuk dug his ear canal.
“I know that turtles as animals are known to be dim-witted, but it’s too bad that you can’t grasp the current situation at all. Other than longevity, you don’t have any notable plus points, do you?” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)
“All demonic beings live for a long time, darling.” (Erukana)
“…Oh. Then the only plus point is no more?” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)
The banter between Yi Ji-Hyuk and Erukana caused Barasga’s face to burn up.
“This will be your last time being so nonchalant.” (Barasga)
Almost at the same time, crimson Gates materialised on the left and right of Barasga.
“Oh?” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)
Yi Ji-Hyuk watched that, his eyes sparkling.
These Gates seemed to flicker for a little while, then two figures emerged from the portals.
“Hey, I didn’t know today was Christmas.” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)
“Nah, it’s nothing. I was just surprised that three demon kings, known for their lazy a*ses, decide to show up in Korea, that’s all.” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)
Yi Ji-Hyuk began cackling away.
“99th demon king!!!”
The newly-appearing demon kings discovered Yi Ji-Hyuk, then began grinding their teeth.
“So, this was where you were! Right here!”
“Hmm…” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)
Yi Ji-Hyuk scratched his cheek and turned towards Erukana to ask her something.
“Just what exactly did I do back in the demon world for these guys to gnash their teeth until only their roots are left?” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)
“Darling, you know what is this one thing that I’m always grateful about?” (Erukana)
“What is it?” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)
“It’s the fact that I met you and became your buddy way before you got your powers.” (Erukana)
“If it weren’t for that, I might have ended up in the same state of those guys. We can certainly try to look past some things, but why did you go and dangle a flower on Barasga’s back? Not just any, but a red flower, no less.” (Erukana)
“Cuz, I wanted it to evolve?” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)
“I just don’t get what you’re saying.” (Erukana)
“You won’t get it even I tell you. In any case, a turtle will become stronger if you dangle a flower on its back shell, you see. I was being really generous back then, but what a shame, the guy receiving my gesture took it the wrong way.” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)
“Have you ever considered the feelings of the poor demon king that had to walk around with a red flower on its back? I hear that you even threatened to kill the guy if it dared to take the flower off?” (Erukana)
“I did that?” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)
Yi Ji-Hyuk looked at Barasga with an ashamed face and spoke.
“Look here, dude. Looking back, I agree that I did go a bit overboard back then. Why don’t I apologise to you and call it a day?” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)
“I shall destroy you!!!!” (Barasga)
“…Come on, dude! I’m being honest, I was genuinely trying to be nice, you know?!” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)
The fault is with your looks, man. Your dang looks. (Yi Ji-Hyuk’s inner monologue)
“Who told you to look like that in the first place? Anyone who sees a large turtle with the blue spotted pattern would want to dangle a flower on its back. At least, when viewed from the norms of this world, that is.” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)
Here was Yi Ji-Hyuk, repurposing a world’s common sense on a whim.
“I don’t get what you’re on about, darling.” (Erukana)
“Sorry. I got a bit agitated just now.” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)
Yi Ji-Hyuk grandly shook his head and continued on.
“In any case. I’m really sorry about that. Now that I think about it, you do have a pretty good reason to hold a grudge. But what did I do to the other two?” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)
“…Darling, you shouldn’t sweat over stuff like that. When you hear their stories, you’re going to apologise again, so it’s just a waste of time.” (Erukana)
Yi Ji-Hyuk spat out a lengthy groan.
What exactly have you been doing, the past me? (Yi Ji-Hyuk’s inner monologue)
“Eh, well… If I’m to provide an excuse, my level of stress back then was so high that I needed an outlet to vent, you see.” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)
“But darling, you were reset constantly, weren’t you?” (Erukana)
“…Weeell, I needed one full day to reset, and it was hard to endure until then, that’s why.” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)
“Okay, let’s stop here, darling. It’s getting a bit too unsightly now. You know, humans can be so bizarre. Us demons readily accept who we are, yet humans have this need to beautify and wrap themselves up in a pretty packaging. Is it that difficult for you to accept that you’re a scumbag? I mean, surely by accepting that fact, your heart will be at ease, don’t you think so?” (Erukana)
“……………….” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)
Why did this heartfelt advice sound more like a thinly-disguised insult?
Barasga watched Yi Ji-Hyuk looking rather tormented and gritted its teeth loudly.
“This is as far as your pranks will go. Oh, 99th demon king, you truly haven’t changed, absurdly so.” (Barasga)
Seeing how he was so carelessly running his mouth off even in front of three demon kings, it felt like the past memories were coming back to life.
Indeed, he was like this even in the past.
Although he was merely a demon king, he treated demonic creatures, demons, and even other demon kings as his plaything and merrily did whatever he wanted. Just how many demon kings had to be sacrificed in that outrageous rampaging of his?
“If you were planning to revive the grudge, then let me say that you have succeeded brilliantly. And now, dear 99th demon king, time to welcome your eternal slumber. Do not fret, for your name will forever be remembered in the demon world’s history books.” (Barasga)
“Mm…” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)
Yi Ji-Hyuk scratched his head as if he was troubled by something.
“Hey, man. Can I ask you something?” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)
“…Planning to waste more time?” (Barasga)
“All you have in abundance is time anyway, so don’t be so stingy.” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)
“Fine. Ask.” (Barasga)
Yi Ji-Hyuk then asked as if he couldn’t understand it at all.
“Why do you lot keep talking like that as if my life is already in your hands? Let’s get real here, the reason why you all have grudges against me is because I used to beat the living crap out of you over and over again, right? So with what balls do you think you three can fight me now?” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)
Barasga cackled and spoke in a hushed voice.
“We already know that you have become much weaker compared to your past self. We know everything, that your infamous immortality is long gone, and your seemingly infinite Mana also does not exist anymore. It’s a bad form to ignore the information network of the demon world. I alone should be sufficient enough to deal with the current you. As for my colleagues, they are here to block the 13th demon king, that’s all.” (Barasga)
“Mm…” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)
Yi Ji-Hyuk sighed with a deeply agonised expression, then turned towards Erukana.
“See? I told you that the dude’s a turtle brain.” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)
Erukana looked a bit embarrassed for some reason.
Demons had nearly no sense of tribalism in them, but even then, she had never ever thought that fellow demon kings would be this stupid. It seemed that, as befitting its outer appearance, this Barasga fella was a hit-first-ask-later type demon king and thus was lacking in the cerebral department.
“With a head like that, it still managed to become a demon king. Even that Borencha dude quickly understood what’s going on and ran off in a hurry.” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)
“…What did you say?” (Barasga)
“Hey, didn’t Borencha tell you anything? Like, you shouldn’t come near me or something like that?” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)
“What are you even talking about?” (Barasga)
It seemed that Barasga really had no idea what Yi Ji-Hyuk was saying.
“Wait, could this be team kill?” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)
Yi Ji-Hyuk spat out a sigh.
“Okay, now listen well, turtlehead. I acknowledge that the current situation is far greater in scale compared to back when a single demon king barely managed to cross over. However, there is this thing called trade-off in the world.” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)
“It must’ve felt nice when the doorway opened up. You all probably thought that everything would be over if you invaded en masse. But it looks to me that, besides the high-ranking demon kings, others haven’t really thought about the aftermath at all. Especially so when looking at you three showing up before me without an ounce of fear.” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)
Barasga still couldn’t understand what Yi Ji-Hyuk was saying here.
What could possibly be the trade-off for the doorway to the demon world opening up?
“See? I told you, that guy’s definitely a turtle brain.” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)
“I agree with you, so stop.” (Erukana)
Barasga’s expression crumpled unsightly. Despite possessing the head of a turtle, the demon king still could express its emotions oh-so vividly.
“No more of your pranks! I’ve waited for far too long to humour your twisted whims! Now, go to hell and stay there, 99th demon king!” (Barasga)
A tentacle shot out from Barasga’s back and shot towards Yi Ji-Hyuk. Even if it was a bit slow in the head, this creature nevertheless was a demon king. The power contained in the tentacle was more than enough to tear apart the ground below and puncture the atmosphere itself.
“You’re so short tempered.” (Erukana)
Erukana snatched up the tentacle with one hand and protected Yi Ji-Hyuk.
“You truly wish to betray us, 13th demon king?!” (Barasga)
“No, no, no. Yes, I am betraying you lot, but now isn’t about that. I’m just buying a little bit more time for my darling, you see. I mean, the preparations aren’t even over yet, so it’s no fun if things start too quickly.” (Erukana)
Erukana raised her free hand and pointed at Yi Ji-Hyuk.
“Honestly, it’s not stable yet, but nonetheless, you should all witness it. Of course, I’m talking about the unveiling of the one you fear so much. The 99th demon king, the one and only Bringer of Apocalypse.” (Erukana)
It was right then – the surrounding atmosphere suddenly got sucked in towards Yi Ji-Hyuk’s body.
Seeing this, Barasga’s expression hardened to an indescribable degree.
Yi Ji-Hyuk was obviously doing something – on an incredibly humongous scale, no less.
The land cried, and the skies screamed.
And then, Barasga saw it.
The space below Yi Ji-Hyuk’s feet was dyed in the pitch-black hue, then right afterwards, a black Gate revealed itself on the ground.
Erukana witnessed that spectacle and loudly guffawed.
“Oh, my dear honoured demon kings… Allow me to introduce to you the returning 99th demon king.” (Erukana)
The pure-black dark Mana rose up like evil spirits from the Gate beneath his feet, then it began to get rapidly sucked into his body.
< 396. See? I told you that the dude’s a turtle brain -1 > Fin.