“God d*mn it.” (Michael)
Michael gritted his teeth and glared at Yi Ji-Hyuk.
Even though he kept hearing the advice to meditate and feel the Mana, it all sounded like barkings of a stray mutt to his ears at the moment.
Also, he could only see Yi Ji-Hyuk as a b*stard who enjoyed suppressing thousand-plus people and torment them with endless pain.
‘It’s pretty scary when you think about it.’
Michael finally began to understand why people kept bringing up the name of Yi Ji-Hyuk so much in the past.
As a matter of fact, he only needed to take one look at Alpha’s underlings currently crawling on the ground in front of Yi Ji-Hyuk to understand why that man’s name became widely known throughout the world.
Even if they were not trying to dodge and were receiving the incoming ability with their bodies, how could a single man manage to instantly incapacitate thousand-plus ability users like this?
‘Such a thing shouldn’t even be possible.’ (Michael)
Indeed, something like that would’ve been completely impossible for a regular ability user. But Yi Ji-Hyuk was doing exactly that with a simple flick of his hand.
And that scary fact was making Michael so much more anxious in his mind.
‘He possesses such a powerful ability, yet he still can’t fight against a demon king?’ (Michael)
If Yi Ji-Hyuk was capable of killing a demon king, then surely none of them would have to be here, to receive this sort of training, in the first place. They had to get stronger because even the one and only Yi Ji-Hyuk couldn’t win against the demon kings.
‘But can we really become stronger through this kind of training?’
Sure, even if they were guaranteed to get stronger eventually, it had already been five whole days and most of them hadn’t even begun sensing anything yet. So just when would they master this thing called Mana and become as strong as Yi Ji-Hyuk?
Michael heard that the three thousand-strong ability users needed to become at least powerful enough to deal with Yi Ji-Hyuk individually if they had any hopes of saving humanity’s future. But seeing his colleagues fall like leaves from Yi Ji-Hyuk’s single hand flick, he couldn’t help but question if such a thing would even be attainable by them.
‘D*mn frustrating.’ (Michael)
Michael might see a ray of hope and endure for longer if there was any hint of progress here but not a single one… Not just him, but no one present here displayed any signs of progressing, so it was only obvious that he’d get really anxious.
“That man is seriously glaring at you, isn’t he?” (Choi Jeong-Hoon)
Choi Jeong-Hoon spoke up, and Yi Ji-Hyuk smirked deeply.
“He sure is.” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)
Yi Ji-Hyuk couldn’t recall doing anything particularly harsh to that guy but he was openly expressing his hatred for a while now.
“Will it be okay?” (Choi Jeong-Hoon)
“Just leave him be.” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)
“But, even then…” (Choi Jeong-Hoon)
“You’ll always find a person like that in a classroom, you know.” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)
Indeed, an organisation with lots of people would inevitably have someone like that in their midst.
Someone who didn’t listen to orders, always full of half-rebellious attitude and thinking of raising a voice of opposition. Someone who desperately wanted to comfort themselves by believing that they were not obediently following another’s command just by behaving in a rebellious attitude…
One special thing to note about such a person was that they would never ever cross that line.
So, if Yi Ji-Hyuk did something to Michael now, then he’d end up as a small-minded fool who tormented another person just because they looked at him funny.
Of course, he wasn’t the type to bat an eyelid even if others treated him that way, but still…
“Nah, no need to single him out. Guys like him will never take on the risks, you see.” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)
“Pardon?” (Choi Jeong-Hoon)
“The ones that will really flip everything on the head are the quiet types. Because, they know how to wait. They won’t go around advertising themselves.” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)
“Hmm…” (Choi Jeong-Hoon)
Choi Jeong-Hoon wasn’t agreeing with everything Yi Ji-Hyuk said, but at the very least, he agreed that Michael was not the type to do something majorly bad.
If the German ability user really was planning to raise the flag of rebellion, then he’d not attract attention so haphazardly like this.
“He can’t let himself become a bad guy.” (Alpha)
Alpha muttered out through his mouth – which happened to be the only intact part of his body right now.
“A guy like him? They’ll grumble and complain if you do something to them, but they will still complain even if you leave them alone. But just as you start thinking that they might do a bit more than complaining, that turns out to be wrong, too. No, for them, the important thing is how the surroundings react to their complaints…” (Alpha)
Alpha tilted his maimed head.
“Well, I can’t see anything properly so I don’t know what’s happening in the surroundings, so uh, Mister Choi Jeong-Hoon? Can you describe to me what’s going on?” (Alpha)
“You focus on what you need to do first, you insane fool.” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)
“But, aren’t I already doing that?” (Alpha)
Yi Ji-Hyuk spat out a lengthy groan.
He should’ve crushed that mouth, too.
Alpha’s body was mangled after receiving Mana through almost every part of his flesh, but he continued to nonchalantly yap away as if he was all-too familiar with this level of pain.
“Man, literally only your mouth is still functioning properly.” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)
“Ah, that. It’s an old habit, you see.” (Alpha)
“An old habit, is it?” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)
Alpha’s lips curled up into a grin.
“I was basically tortured by the psycho-like Yankee scientists who wouldn’t stop their experiments unless I continued giving them verbal feedback of what I was feeling during said experiments, you see. So, when I’m stuck in moments like this, I get a very strong urge to keep talking as long as my mouth still functions.” (Alpha)
“Aren’t those psycho-like Yankees your beloved fellow countrymen?” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)
“Bingo. That’s correct.” (Alpha)
“Yet you can still mouth off being patriotic and whatnot?” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)
“Eii~, it’s uncool to judge the whole country by a handful of out-there morons living in it, you know?” (Alpha)
“But didn’t your country construct this very lab?” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)
“And that’s why I thought about killing every single one of the higher-ups. But then, a dumb*ss became our president, and with the sole exception of Christopher McLaren, eliminating the brass wouldn’t be beneficial at all so I chose not to in the end.” (Alpha)
“What do you mean, not beneficial?” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)
“If a dumb*ss sits on top, he’ll automatically screw up the country by himself, so why should I go out of my way to kill the fool and have someone much smarter take over? That won’t do.” (Alpha)
“Mm…?” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)
“You should know better than anyone that a dumb leader will royally screw up your country pretty well, right? I mean, hello? What’s happening in Korea, again?” (Alpha)
“Shut up.” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)
Yi Ji-Hyuk felt something well up in his chest so he suddenly increased the amount of Mana entering Alpha by a lot more.
“Kkeuh, eeeeuh… Holy sh… This is no d*mn joke. By the way…” (Alpha)
Alpha spoke in a trembling voice.
“I can just continue to endure and that would be all, but are you going to be alright, Mister Yi Ji-Hyuk? You’re currently controlling enough Mana to suppress all these many people, after all. Wouldn’t your body end up in pieces at this rate?” (Alpha)
“The mouse is worrying about the cat, is it?” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)
Yi Ji-Hyuk smirked nonchalantly.
‘Still, all the magic I learned wasn’t just for show, now is it?’ (Yi Ji-Hyuk)
It was as Alpha said; Yi Ji-Hyuk was currently controlling an amount of Mana that would’ve made the jaws of Berafe’s top archmages fall to the floor. So much so that even he was beginning to entertain the idea of switching his class to an actual archmage.
Of course, this level was still not even remotely close enough to oppose a demon king.
Would ten or so top archmages of Berafe be able to handle a single demon king? Nope. In ten seconds or less after the encounter, their heads would be rolling on the ground. But Yi Ji-Hyuk was currently unleashing a might only on the level of two, maybe three regular archmages.
As a magician, this would be one hell of an achievement, but compared to his original powers, this was like a drop in the ocean or some such.
In stark contrast to how others were being genuinely impressed, one would get to realise the painful truth the more one’s standards improved – realise that an individual would never be able to oppose a demon king by learning regular magic.
It was similar to how a regular person would never be able to fight off a tank after attaining the absolute pinnacle of swordsmanship.
Besides, his current ability was heavily based on the magic circle laid out around the dome so in a real combat situation, his power would be weaker by several folds.
Even if Affeldrichae’s real body, the one capable of embarrassing an archmage with just a flick of a finger, showed up today, she’d still not be able to mount any real opposition to a demon king, so Yi Ji-Hyuk confronting such demon kings in his current state was practically the same thing as him willingly falling on top of a knife.
‘That’s why I gotta strengthen these people, but this is…’ (Yi Ji-Hyuk)
Yi Ji-Hyuk was beginning to sense the incoming headache.
He started this whole thing despite not knowing what the odds of success was, because he thought it’d be hundred times better than not doing anything. But with no tangible result to show for the past five days of hard work, even Yi Ji-Hyuk was getting frustrated here.
‘We gotta find a way somehow.’ (Yi Ji-Hyuk)
To his mind, this seemed like the best available method, but if it didn’t work, then well, he had no choice but to think up another one. He simply couldn’t waste time while going, ‘it’ll work out somehow’ and make them stick to this regime.
Because, these people clearly were running out of patience and time.
The countdown to annihilation was almost over. When the demonic beings begin their invasion in earnest, humanity won’t even last a month.
“Man, this is driving me nuts.” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)
Yi Ji-Hyuk was getting antsy.
“You shouldn’t worry too much, though.” (Alpha)
Alpha’s mouth seemed to be still functioning even now, because he tried to comfort Yi Ji-Hyuk.
“They will soon figure it out. Understand what Mana is.” (Alpha)
“Wouldn’t it have been so much nicer if you can sense it first before saying that?” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)
“Eii, you’re looking down on me a little too much.” (Alpha)
Alpha ever so slightly raised his torso up.
“I’ve been wrecked nonstop for the past five days so of course I can feel it now. I’m in the process of increasing my adaptability to it. Or, should I say my familiarity with it, instead? In any case, I can certainly agree that this is the best way to get familiarised with Mana.” (Alpha)
“Hoh-oh?” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)
Yi Ji-Hyuk stared at Alpha’s hand. Although faint, some Mana was gathering near the latter’s fingertips.
‘Should I say that’s amazing or what?’ (Yi Ji-Hyuk)
Yi Ji-Hyuk was only hoping that Alpha would learn how to sense Mana somehow. He planned to teach how to command and control Mana after that. But Alpha had bypassed that stage and was busy mastering the control of Mana by himself.
Now that was an incredible talent, alright.
“Although this method is good… I’ve advice I wanna give you, if that’s alright with you.” (Alpha)
“Ng?” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)
“It’s kind of arrogant of me to say something about Mana and stuff, so I’m feeling reluctant about it, you know?” (Alpha)
“Just come out and say it, will ya?” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)
Yi Ji-Hyuk was well aware of the fact that he had no talent in teaching people. For one thing, he couldn’t even control Mana properly before he became a dark magician.
So, Alpha who had just begun sensing Mana might be a better teacher for the rest of the ability users.
“My advice is pretty simple. Are you planning to kill no one, ensure everyone masters Mana, and we all sing kumbaya together around a campfire at the end of the day?” (Alpha)
Yi Ji-Hyuk frowned at Alpha’s low, grave tone of voice.
“Is that all you wanted to say?” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)
“We’re in a crisis, aren’t we? A crisis where humanity is about to be wiped out. But if you insist on teaching these people with such a lukewarm method, then humanity will be wiped out ten times over in the meantime.” (Alpha)
“So?” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)
“Let’s go all the way in. It won’t matter if half of these people die now, anyway. Increase the amount of Mana, and push them until they are really on the brink of death. If they do die, then there’s no helping it.” (Alpha)
“Well, your mouth is still functioning, I see.” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)
However, Yi Ji-Hyuk did feel tempted by that suggestion.
Even he was beginning to feel that doing things this way would lead to nowhere fast.
“The best proof is me beginning to sense Mana already. I mean, I’ve been under the biggest baptism of Mana out of everyone here, after all.” (Alpha)
“I get it so shut up for a second.” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)
Yi Ji-Hyuk contemplated it before sighing deeply.
One of the things he hated the most happened to be the concept of sacrificing a few for the sake of many. He hated it so much that no matter how extreme situations got, he didn’t want to choose that option.
“I agree with your suggestion that we need to change our method.” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)
“You made the right call.” (Alpha)
“However, that doesn’t mean I’m gonna do as you say.” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)
“Okay, then what?” (Alpha)
Alpha asked with eyes containing a hint of confusion, so Yi Ji-Hyuk pointed to Alpha’s underlings currently collapsed on the ground before his eyes.
“Get rid of these guys first. And then…” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)
Yi Ji-Hyuk turned his head and stared at Michael.
“Bring that guy over here.” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)
Alpha began clapping his hands.
“As expected. Purging all dissatisfied rebels first under the pretext of paving a new way is probably the most-used excuse by those wielding the absolute power. Should I say, it’s pretty much a part of the strategy textbook?” (Alpha)
“You keep quiet.” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)
Yi Ji-Hyuk pointed at Michael, and beckoned him over.
The German’s eyes, who had been glaring at Yi Ji-Hyuk until that point, couldn’t help but tremble a little.
“Come over here already. It’s your turn.” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)
Choi Jeong-Hoon translated that in real time, and Michael shot up from his spot with a stiff face. He strode fearlessly towards Yi Ji-Hyuk.
After confirming Michael’s grave, determined face, Yi Ji-Hyuk quietly whispered to him.
“Are you prepared to face death as long as you can become stronger?” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)
< 448. Is their relationship good or bad -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.