Chapter 41 - Chapter 6: Encounter #3
The black castle, deep inside the forest to the north, was called the True Demon King’s Palace. It was the place where the Demon King lived.
Located in the centre of the palace was the magnificent room where the court gathering would take place. There were high ceilings reminiscent of the night sky and a space without pillars that was wide enough to accommodate hundreds of people at a time.
Among the five queens, only four were staying in their hometowns, with the exception of Shutra’s mother, 5th Queen Semita Ignus, who had died early. Therefore, the only female present at the court gathering was 4th Princess Anastasia Nekrion.
Standing behind her were ten of the Demon King’s concubines and their children. At first glance, they seemed to be gathered together without any distinction but there was an invisible wall between them.
Some time passed.
Finally, the door opened and the four protagonists of today’s court gathering entered. Silent gazes enveloped the four people instantly.
‘Their eyes are all gazing here.’
Looking at the front where faces were visible, In-gong was able to recognize most of them. It was because the main characters of Knight Saga were gathered here.
He dispersed his consciousness around his surroundings. It wasn’t the time to glance around now.
There were enemies and there were allies but that was a normal story in Knight Saga. Nothing was confirmed about Shutra since he was starting from zero. The difference was that he had built an alliance with Chris and Caitlin who were considered middle ranked bosses. Additionally, if he had been Zephyr, it would have been impossible to get close to Felicia.
In-gong settled his heart and stood up straight. He took a dignified step forward under all the gazes.
Chris stopped moving in the middle of the long red path leading up to the Demon King. Caitlin, Felicia and In-gong, who had been walking next to him, stopped stopped as well, while the supporters stood in place three steps behind them.
“I greet the ruler of the Demon World.”
Chris played a leading role in the Red Lightning tribe suppression. Therefore, he represented all of them as he went down on one knee. Everybody standing beside him took the same action.
It was silent despite the fact that there were over 100 people gathered in a large room.
In-gong swallowed his saliva while bowing. He couldn’t even think about Carack behind him.
The quality of the gazes changed. It felt like all the eyes had converged into one on his body.
"I will report the merits of the princes and princess.”
A familiar voice broke the heavy silence. It was Isabella from the Merits Department.
“The 7th Prince, Chris Moonlight.”
Once Isabella called him, Chris alone stood up. Isabella, who stood on the lowest level of the three-tiered dais, announced Chris’ merits in a cheerful voice.
The only response was silence. Some smiled at Chris’ activities while others glowered.
The mood slowly changed as Caitlin and Felicia’s achievements were announced successively.
Finally, it was In-gong’s turn.
“The 9th Prince, Shutra Agnus.”
In-gong stood up slowly and saw the Demon King in front of him. He was sitting on a huge throne at the very top level of the dias.
He was a giant but even so, it wasn’t due to his body. He just gave off an enormous presence. His marble white skin was covered with long black hair. Due to his coarse face, it was hard to guess his age. Furthermore, he seemed both young and old.
In-gong couldn’t look away. He hadn’t even looked at the five captains that were on the level below the Demon King. The Demon King’s red eyes had caught In-gong.
The distance to the Demon King was approximately 20 metres but his breath felt blocked. It felt like when he encountered the wrym, Enkidu, in the illusion.
He was about to collapse, unable to withstand it. He was breaking in front of that gaze.
Demon King Mitra.
Zephyr’s father, the father of all the Demon King’s children.
In-gong had forgotten for awhile. He had forgotten that the most fearsome presence in the Demon King’s Palace wasn’t Zephyr.
If the Demon King decided it, then In-gong would die. If he wanted to, not only In-gong, but everyone present would turn into corpses.
However, In-gong didn’t bow. Rather than succumbing to the Demon King’s gaze that forced obedience, he resisted.
Those eyes attempted to overcome the situation and make him submit.
The other person was the Demon King.
This was the power of Conquest!
An invisible force crashed into the air. In-gong endured and the Demon King’s eyes flashed. The Demon King wasn’t the only one to be surprised.
In-gong’s merit announcement was in progress. At first, there were no reactions. However, as the achievements increased, everyone’s expressions changed and some of them blinked with confusion.
At the mention of Felicia’s rescue, their reactions peaked.
They didn’t know what was happening. Was it just a coincidence? Or a manipulation? 6th Princess Felicia’s absurd mistake? Or did the 9th Prince hide his talents until now?
These silent thoughts filled the room. Once again, the silence was broken by a voice.
The demon king opened his mouth. The act of him calling out In-gong’s name had a bigger impact than the announcement of In-gong’s merits. Even Chris, who had been enjoying seeing everyone’s gazes change, made a shocked expression.
The Demon King had called out a name at the court gathering. This was the first time Chris had seen it. Even Zephyr hadn't had his name called at the court gathering.
The five captains stared at them while Isabella was so shocked she dropped the merits sheet on the ground. It was so silent that even the sound of the piece of paper falling seemed loud. However, no one turned to look at her.
The Demon King, who shocked everyone with one word, didn’t respond to any of the staring eyes. He only looked down at In-gong and spoke in a cold voice.
“I look forward to your future.”
Just plain words. However, he had never said them to anyone else. That was why the words had value.
Thus, In-gong’s first court gathering was completed.
As soon as they returned to the waiting room, someone sat on the ground and made a sound like wind was being blown. It was Carack. Particularly, Carack was so pale that his green skin looked white.
In contrast, there was someone who was really excited.
“Amazing! Amazing! Amazing! Amazing!”
Caitlin’s eyes were moving faster than usual as she stared at In-gong.
Felicia scoffed and uttered an insult,
"A lowly guy like this?! No way! Did you know that this was the first time I heard Abamama speak in three and a half years?” (TL Note: Felicia uses a term Abamama that is specifically used by a royal child towards their father. If they were referring to their mother then it would be Omamama. It is a term commonly heard in Korean historical dramas.)
Unless it was an official event like a court gathering, it was rare to see the Demon King.
"Did you call him Abamama?”
Caitlin blinked with surprise and Felicia shouted,
“That isn’t the point!”
The demon king had called In-gong’s name. Moreover, he had even encouraged In-gong by saying he would look forward to the future.
“What is this? Clearly, it was just a merits presentation but...”
In-gong had many merits this time. Even so, the merits weren’t that huge compared to the past. The rebellion of the Red Lightning tribe couldn’t be called incredible even from the viewpoint of the Demon World. It had only been an army of thousands.
2nd Prince Zephyr and 4th Princess Anastasia both had merits that were worth several times more than In-gong’s.
However, the demon king had never called their names at a court gathering.
So, why would he call In-gong’s name?
Was it because a child no one had expected anything from suddenly showed achievements? Or was he a child who was special to the demon king?
Hearty laughter suddenly filled the room. Caitlin looked at the owner of the laugh with an anxious expression.
"Poor Chris, he has gone crazy. Yes, you must be crazy. I’ll admit it.”
Even if Felicia’s relationship with Chris had improved over the last few days, she still spoke harshly about his reaction.
However, Chris wasn’t crazy. He just continued laughing as he approached In-gong.
"I said it was your show... but you really showed me.”
In fact, he had been hoping for something like this.
Everybody would look at In-gong. They would also realize that In-gong was on the same boat as Chris.
However, the situation was more than he had expected. That outcome couldn’t be calculated.
Chris’ eyes shone as he faced In-gong who was sitting in the chair. Although it couldn’t be compared to Enkidu or the demon king, he could feel power coming from Chris’ eyes.
"Shutra, from now on there will be people paying attention to you. There will be some who will try to approach you and there are those you should be on guard against."
No one could read the true meaning of the demon king. There were those who considered the words of the demon king to be ‘favouritism’.
'Maybe it really is favouritism.’
Chris couldn’t read the mind of the demon king so that might be the case.
In-gong listened quietly to Chris’ encouragement and warning.
Even without seeing Caitlin and Felicia’s reaction, he could tell what a huge impact the words would have on the Demon King’s Palace.
'Resistance to the gaze... No, it is because I endured that merciless gaze.’
That’s why the Demon King showed some interest. Other than that, he couldn’t think of a reason.
He suddenly woke up. It was like cold water had been poured on his excitement to meet the characters in Knight Saga.
Yet now wasn’t the time to think about it. He had to build up his strength and reinforce his position in the Demon King’s Palace.
‘I didn’t look at Anastasia.’
4th Princess Anastasia had clearly been at today’s court gathering. The five commanders, the most powerful being below the demon king, had also been at their seats. However, In-gong hadn’t seen any of them. It was because he had needed to overcome the demon king’s eyes.
The demon king was such a being and Zephyr was a monster who would be able to surpass the demon king after a few years.
That word had popped into his head when he met the eyes of the demon king. It had given him the power to withstand such a merciless gaze.
It was a strange feeling. Despite the enormous presence, he was once again reminded of the threat of Zephyr. Rather than tremble in fear, he felt something deep inside his heart.
“Shutra, go back and rest for today.”
Caitlin said, touching In-gong’s shoulder. Felicia also spoke with a cheery smile.
"Yes, don’t you know that Abamama had a good impression of you? Today is a good day.”
The attention of the demon king... Felicia sounded a little bit envious.
Once again, both Caitlin and Felicia had good personalities. He couldn’t feel even the slightest sense of dishonesty from them.
In-gong returned to his home with Carack and rested like both of them had said to do. He was physically and mentally exhausted, so he could sleep with worrying.
The next morning:
In-gong received a letter from the Merits Department.
It was about a new mission.
"This is a mission from the demon king.”