The atmosphere of this place cooled down rapidly.
The demon kings could feel through their skin just how much Mana Yi Ji-Hyuk managed to swallow up. The fluctuations transmitted through the air were so strong that the demons were automatically being pushed back.
‘He’s like a human condensing machine.’ (Barasga)
The demon kings often felt this in the past – that when he began rousing up Mana, it was as if his whole body was turning into a Mana crystal of some kind.
The quandary of how a mere human managed to control Mana of such purity when even demons couldn’t do that, had not been answered to this day.
‘Even I would suffer the fate of my body disintegrating after accepting that much Mana…’ (Barasga)
Barasga boasted one of the toughest, sturdiest constitutions among all the demon kings, yet it knew it could not contain that much Mana within its body.
The dark Mana itself possessed the terrifying power to destroy the world. Even if demons used that energy source as their foundation, it’d still prove to be fatally dangerous by accepting past the body’s limit.
If they were talking about Yi Ji-Hyuk of the past, then he was capable of doing it. Because his body was immortal, after all.
The dark Mana might destroy one’s body, but he couldn’t be destroyed at all. More correctly, his body did get destroyed, but recovered right away so he could easily shove more Mana than he should normally be able to control.
However, he no longer had his immortality, did he?
Since he had reverted to being a frail little human, it was only right that his body would disintegrate only after accepting half of a half of Mana he had absorbed just now.
Yet here he was, displaying a miracle of accepting the amount of Mana that even demon kings couldn’t handle with a frail human body.
‘What an incomprehensible event this is.’ (Barasga)
The existence of Yi Ji-Hyuk always managed to shatter their common sense.
It was incomprehensible that he invaded the demon world and earned the title of the demon king even though he was a human being. It was incomprehensible that the moment he became the lowest-seated demon king, he proceeded to completely flip the demon world on its head. None of these events could be understood by one’s common sense.
However, Yi Ji-Hyuk managed to pull them off.
‘Now I get why the noble ones start fidgeting around when they hear the name of the 99th demon king.’ (Barasga)
Barasga wasn’t exactly fond of the 99th demon king, true, but the wariness displayed towards Yi Ji-Hyuk by the highest-seated demon kings that truly ruled the demon world bordered on being a mental illness.
So much so that it was rather difficult to fathom why those beings possessing such power were so, so wary of one measly little man.
But now, Barasga understood it.
The truly fear-inducing point about Yi Ji-Hyuk wasn’t the strength he wielded. No, it was because he was a man who achieved whatever he set out to do, no matter what it was.
Even if everyone else said it was impossible, he’d still go ahead and make it happen no matter what kind of hurdles were blocking his way. So, who could confidently declare that it was impossible for him to stop the demon world’s invasion by himself?
Barasga’s small eyes narrowed to slits as it quietly glared at Yi Ji-Hyuk.
‘It’s not perfect, however.’ (Barasga)
The pool of Mana he managed to absorb might have been great, but upon a closer inspection, the current Yi Ji-Hyuk was noticeably worse off than his past self.
The past Yi Ji-Hyuk was able to suppress other demon kings and prevent them from attacking him simply with Mana calmly circulating around his figure. But the current him couldn’t even reach anywhere near that level.
Yi Ji-Hyuk’s shoulder suddenly burst open.
He scowled deeply and rubbed his burst shoulder, then the wound was healed in an instant.
But, of course. There was no way he’d not experience any side effects.
“Looks like you’re struggling over there, oh 99th demon king.” (Barasga)
“If you get it, why don’t you start fighting already? Maintaining this is a lot harder than it looks, you see.” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)
Yi Ji-Hyuk openly displayed a pained look.
It was indeed true, though – he was enduring the kind of pain usually reserved for when a person’s body was about to explode into tiny bits.
“You think you can stop us with a body like that?” (Barasga)
“I think I can if you’d only shut the hell up and attack me already.” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)
Barasga raised its huge foot and slammed down on the ground. It was supposed to be a simple little demonstration.
The ripples generated from that were definitely not simple nor little, though.
The land shook as if an earthquake had broken out, then soon enough, was loudly torn apart. Yi Ji-Hyuk looked at the ground below his feet being torn apart and let out an irritated yell.
“Hey, man! You’re supposed to be a water-type!” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)
“…What is that madman yapping on about now?” (Barasga)
Even in the past, he used to say these incomprehensible things and drove Barasga up the wall. The same thing still applied even now.
The demon king even began wondering if it should investigate exactly what those things meant in this world.
Of course, that all depended on whether it could survive this encounter or not.
“Seeing that those lardy-a*ses haven’t shown up here yet… You’re like the advanced scouts, more or less. Well, they can’t leave the demon world completely unattended, so yeah.” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)
The demon world had no need for any production-related activity to take place.
Humans needed funds and food when going to war, but unlike them, the demon world didn’t need any personnel to manufacture and maintain their society. To put it in another way, every denizen found in the demon world was capable of transforming into a combatant at the drop of a hat. A militarist’s wet dream, in other words.
Even then, leaving the demon world unattended was still an impossibility. Not only was the place teeming with dangerous demonic beasts that couldn’t be reined in without the presence of the demons, the demon kings were not really firm believers in the concept of ‘solidarity’ and thus they had to watch their backs constantly.
Thanks to this, the highest-seat demon kings, which there were a handful of them, found it rather difficult to make a move openly.
“Che. This is why politics can be such a pain.” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)
If humans learned that politics also existed among the demon kings, they would keel over from laughing too much. But whatever the case might be, none of those demon kings could pounce on the juicy prey helplessly shivering in front of them precisely because of this reality.
That was the sole ray of hope in this situation.
While the strongest demon kings were dithering about, the number of the lower-seated demon kings had to be decreased as much as possible. If not, the destruction of the planet Earth would become an avoidable fate.
Yi Ji-Hyuk stared at the ground below splitting apart like a dark, bottomless maw and shook his head.
“Seriously, that turtlehead.” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)
What was that dude trying to accomplish by ripping the ground open against a magician like him?
Besides, he was floating in the air, wasn’t he?
“I can already guess how much you made the ones serving you suffer with that head of yours. Why don’t you take an eternal rest now?” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)
Mana began gathering in Yi Ji-Hyuk’s right hand.
The fluctuations from the gathering Mana swept past him and whipped up a massive storm in the surroundings. So much Mana pooled in his hand that never mind his hand dyeing in pitch-blackness, it now resembled something else entirely that was eerily see-through.
Yi Ji-Hyuk was beset with this pain of his entire arm vanishing, and began scowling unhappily. He did expect something like this to happen, but still, the rebound this time was simply too much.
Obviously, he couldn’t be the same as his past self. He was no longer the past him who could fling high-ranked magic at any time he wanted while utterly disregarding the damage from the rebound such spells would inevitably cause.
And he now needed to perform all these things at the same time when wanting to fire a single spell – calculate the potential rebound from the spell and the disintegration of his body from it, then rouse up his Ether to protect his body and activate extra layers of protection with even more Mana.
“I don’t think the balance patch is working right, you know!” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)
If things were destined to turn out this way, the numbers on the other side should’ve been lowered to get the balance right! Or strengthen the units on this side or something! (Yi Ji-Hyuk’s inner monologue)
Mana bursting out of Yi Ji-Hyuk’s hand began generating a massive sphere in the air.
Barasga saw the ominous undulations of the swirling Mana and its eyes trembled from shock.
Some folks feared the unknown. However, Barasga knew better than anyone that there was nothing more scary than the ‘known’ in this world.
The demon king knew intimately just what that sphere made out of swirling Mana was capable of doing.
The level of fear that didn’t befit the title of the demon king began taking over Barasga’s body.
“For now, eat this!” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)
Yi Ji-Hyuk flicked his finger, causing the swirling Mana to release the black-coloured magical power all at once.
Mana flooded out like an uncontrollable deluge bursting out of a dam and swept everything away in front.
Erukana shuddered grandly as she witnessed this spectacle.
There should be some among the demon kings capable of exhibiting this level of destructive power. Indeed, it wouldn’t be so shocking to see a highest-seat demon king performing a feat similar in nature.
But she was 100% sure that no other demon king capable of this level of firepower could match the wild, uninhibited charm of her darling.
‘It’s so ironic, isn’t it.’ (Erukana)
Yi Ji-Hyuk was a magician.
Not just any, but someone who was rightfully called the greatest in humanity’s history, and as far as space manipulation and attack magic were concerned, he had stepped onto a realm that no one had previously ever reached.
Even if magicians and demons both used Mana to perform magic, the way each of them did so was different.
Demons used the magical energy as if it was a part of their limb. Like how humans used muscles to move, demons freely wielded magical energy and attacked with it.
However, magicians used the Rune language as the necessary ignition of sorts, then circulated the magical energy within the magic circuits like some kind of a well-oiled machine to bring about a physical result.
Higher-ranked magicians required an even more precise calculation to fire their magic spells. That’s why the magicians would always be better at Mana control then regular demons.
However, the story was different with Yi Ji-Hyuk.
He was a magician, but he didn’t bother to precisely calculate the expenditure of his magical energy. No, he simply shoved as much as he could.
From the get-go, he couldn’t utilise magical powers like everyone else, so rather than expanding the magic’s efficiency through precise calculations, he pursued the path of simply shoving a near-infinite amount of Mana into comparatively-simpler magic circuits and increase the firepower in that manner.
And this was the end result.
Erukana stared at the land in front of her, now resembling the surface of an apple after someone took a rough bite out of it, and shuddered grandly once more.
Back when she first laid eyes on Yi Ji-Hyuk, trembling and shivering away all alone in a dark corner, she never, ever imagined that one day he’d possess this level of power.
The symbol of apocalypse that erased everything before his eyes with the magical power more vicious and cruel than any other demon kings.
That man had finally returned.
“Keuh, euh…” (Barasga)
Barasga moaned in pain while holding onto the utterly-destroyed lower half.
The demon king’s lower torso was horrendously crushed and was dangling precariously, while the remaining half was also grievously damaged as well.
“Hahaha… Cough, cough! Aigo, I’m dying here!” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)
Yi Ji-Hyuk was about to mock the dying demon king, but ended up complaining instead after blood flooded out from his mouth like a waterfall.
“I’m the attacker, so why does it feel like I’ve sustained more damage than the other side?! Aigooo…” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)
Yi Ji-Hyuk spat out one groan after another.
The burden on his body increased at a horrifying level every time he used a high-ranking magic spell.
His biggest problem right now was that no matter how much he rested or received the treatment, he would never fully recover. The more he relied on magic, the worse off the limits of his body would become. His overall abilities would get weaker with every battle, and the disintegration of his body would gradually accelerate.
“You, you’ve become even more stronger…” (Barasga)
“Tsk.” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)
Yi Ji-Hyuk trudged towards Barasga. He then squatted right next to the dying demon king, and spat out a long sigh.
“I haven’t gotten stronger, but I was actually taking it easy on you guys in the past. If I went around killing every demon king I could find, you lot would’ve attacked me in large groups, so that’s why.” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)
Barasga stared back at Yi Ji-Hyuk with hollow eyes, before chuckling weakly.
“…You dreadful b*stard.” (Barasga)
“Have a nice trip.” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)
Yi Ji-Hyuk’s foot stomped down on Barasga’s head.
< 398. See? I told you that the dude’s a turtle brain -3 > Fin.
Synopsis: Somewhere in the universe, there was an altar. On it, laid a bloody eye as big as the sun itself. It burst with light and bathed the entire star system in red.
"The aura of an ancestral artifact!" Someone's voice rose in surprise.
The Great Galactic Era had begun.