Episode 215. The Dark Lord (2)

The Dark Lord was an unseemly man who did not mirror his overwhelming presence and status.

Despite being covered in a cape from head to toe, the Dark Lord’s skinny physique was easily noticeable. He seemed too ordinary to be the Dark Lord responsible for the utter destruction of the west and the loss of countless lives.

He looked like a journeyman commonly seen while riding on the plains.

But despite this, the Dark Lord seemed neither small nor normal.

Neither his cape nor his scrawny figure could lessen the majesty of the Dark Lord, and he was unable to conceal his presence.

He was an absolute ruler dominating ten thousand demons - it was clearly he who dominated the area.

In such a situation, the only creature refusing to submit to the Dark Lord was a beast enveloped in golden light like a suit of holy armor.

The draconian glared at the Dark Lord.

Growl.

At this irreverent behavior, the demonic creatures growled and looked ready to charge in at once. However, they did not dare act without permission from their master, and so they only glared at their foe fiercely.

Swish.

The face of the Dark Lord, covered in the darkness of his hood, turned to the draconian. It was impossible to tell what he was thinking in the darkness.

The Dark Lord simply stared at the draconian, and the draconian likewise stared back.

“Are you the rumored dragon rider?”

The Dark Lord broke the silence first.

“I’ve always wanted to meet you sometime.”

Surprisingly, the Dark Lord sounded almost affectionate, as though he had been waiting for this moment for a long time.

Seon-Hyeok was taken aback.

Various individuals had told him that the Dark Lord was completely dominated by the Fragment of Chaos. But right now, facing the person in question, the Dark Lord seemed to be quite different from the evil demon he anticipated.

The demon king’s tone was normal, and for some reason, there seemed to be a sense of friendliness in his words.

It almost made him feel silly for being the sole one growling and working up his fighting spirit.

What kind of situation is this?

He could not understand his opponent’s attitude, but this was not all for the worst.

After all, he remained in this place to buy time for the refugees and the Qeishas to flee. He needed to endure and keep the Dark Lord and his demonic horde occupied until they reached a safe place.

In such a situation, it was beneficial for him that the Dark Lord was not rushing in at the first opportunity.

So long as they were simply exchanging conversation, the Dark Lord’s subordinates did not leave his side.

Seon-Hyeok was determined to buy time in this manner.

But there was a problem.

“Grrrr.”

The completely unleashed ferocity of the draconian hindered him.

Damn it.

Even when he tried to open his mouth and force an answer, all that came out was a violent growl. Without realizing it himself, he was trying to move towards his opponent.

Just a bit! Just a bit!

He desperately took deep breaths while suppressing his fighting spirit.

Though his desire to destroy all in front of him remained, taking several deep breaths allowed him to regain some of his senses.

“... why?”

He barely managed to blurt out a single word. Though it was the aggressive voice of a fierce beast, it was an attempt to show the Dark Lord his willingness to exchange conversation.

“Because you were my idol.”

“What?”

This unpredictable conversation made Seon-Hyeok deeply confused. In a situation where they should feel mutual hostility, the Dark Lord continued to show favor to him.

“Even on the other end of the continent, I was able to hear about the eastern foreigner capable of flying through the skies. I was envious of your freedom to roam about the heavens as if it were all yours.”

To be honest, Seon-Hyeok had never actually flown freely through the skies. He was always burdened with missions and responsibilities, and his flights were no more than a means of exterminating the enemy.

But there was no need for Seon-Hyeok to tell the Dark Lord this. He believed it would be better to leave his opponent deep in his own reminiscing.

And anyways, he was too busy suppressing the draconian instincts to do much more.

“You may not believe it, but I was always happy to hear about your rumors, as though they were my own successes.”

The Dark Lord almost treated him like a friend.

“That was the only joy I felt, allowing me to endure that hell of a time.”

Seon-Hyeok could not understand. His enemy perhaps did not expect him to, as he declined to explain his feelings in detail.

“But by the way.”

The friendly tone remained, but Seon-Hyeok somehow found this plain voice unsettling.

“The more successful you were, the shittier I felt about my own situation.”

Seon-Hyeok’s golden scales stood on end, and his suppressed fighting spirit boiled up at the ominous feeling.

“People who have proven their worth will be successful and rise in status without consideration of their origin? That’s wishful thinking that only applies in the east - nobody thinks like that out here. Around here, in this dog-eat-dog world, all non-nobles are expendable, only worthy of being used and thrown away.”

“Grrrrr.”

He let out a low growl without realizing it, but the Dark Lord continued his monologue without caring about Seon-Hyeok’s reaction.

“My comrades died for meaningless reasons. Would you believe it if I told you some died because the nobles didn’t like black hair?”

However, in spite of his fighting spirit, Seon-Hyeok found himself conflicted by the Dark Lord’s lamenting words.

“Awakening? How nice. How would anyone ever experience their awakening when they’re solely being worked in the mines day after day? Awakening. Classes. Those were little more than dreams.”

Nonetheless, this man had somehow progressed quicker than anyone else and had reached his status as Dark Lord. Seon-Hyeok found this incomprehensible.

“In that situation, all that was left for us was spite. We hated the unidentified beings responsible for bringing us into this world, and the worthless nobles who slit our throats and stripped naked our loved ones for their entertainment.”

After speaking freely for a while, the Dark Lord suddenly snickered.

“But ironically, those bastards’ worthless acts became the foundation for my awakening.”

This was the moment the Dark Lord revealed how he had awakened, despite never once receiving training.

“I’m saying that people’s despair, hatred, and pain are the biggest contributors to me leveling up. And I’m saying…”

His eyes glowed red in the darkness under the hood.

“All the deaths in the west added to my strength.”

Over ten kingdoms were annihilated, and countless people were sacrificed. The Dark Lord was claiming that all of this suffering laid the foundation for his growth.

“So what do you think my level is now?”

Seon-Hyeok got goosebumps as he saw the Dark Lord’s red eyes.

“And what’s your level?”

Seon-Hyeok could not know why the Dark Lord shared his story. All that was for sure was that the Dark Lord simply watched the Qeishas run away with the inheritance and seedlings of the Spirit King because of his absolute confidence in his ability to acquire them whenever he desired.

“Ah, I asked something meaningless. It’s not important what level you are right now.”

The Dark Lord’s mouth, now visible under his hood, curled up in a smile.

“What is important is whether the dragon is by your side or not.”

An overflowing black haze slowly began to cover the Dark Lord’s body.

“If you have it, hurry up and show me.”

At some point, the demon king became one with the dark energy, turning into the darkness itself.

Silence.

This enemy was now so large he could devour the entire sky, and the faint sunlight completely disappeared. The deepest of nights covered the world.

“If you don’t, you’ll die here today.”

His echoing voice was no longer human, but rather the embodiment of the greatest evil.

“This is a bit too much…”

Seon-Hyeok found himself letting out a groan.

The demons and the lesser demonic beings filling the area could no longer be seen. All that was visible was the darkness, and Seon-Hyeok knew that this darkness was the Dark Lord himself.

This demon king was like the darkest and deepest of nights.

“I thought this was going too smoothly.”

But he had already prepared for this. Seon-Hyeok never believed he would be able to talk it out with the man responsible for turning the west into hell, and he had no desire to exchange conversation.

Regardless of the sad plight of the western foreigners, the Dark Lord who wiped out all life in the area was unforgivable evil itself, and Seon-Hyeok was not corrupt enough to cordially speak with such a person.

All he needed was the time for the refugees and the Qeishas to evacuate to safety.

He had bought more than enough time.

Shriek!

In the distance, he heard Redvern, who had followed the Qeishas in their escape. It was a signal that the refugees and the Qeishas had completely left the area.

“You are not my mortal enemy, and I am not yours.”

The true enemy of the Dark Lord was the valiant warrior, not the Dragon Knight. Similarly, the Dragon Knight’s fated enemy was the Dragon Slayer, not this Demon King.

“But even so, I don’t think I can let you go like this.”

But despite this, Seon-Hyeok burned with hostility as though he was facing his single greatest enemy.

“It would have been better if you were truly crazy, or if you tried to rationalize your actions.”

The situation would have been more acceptable if the Dark Lord attributed his actions to revenge, or if he offered a weak excuse that he hated this world.

But this demon king seemed far too normal.

He seemed to be at peace, and it was almost unbelievable that he was overwhelmed by chaos. He did not feel the slightest guilt even knowing the weight of his atrocities.

For him, the sacrificed people of the west were little more than experience values.

“Rationalize? Are they really worth that? You’ve already witnessed what those people are like, haven’t you?”

Was the Dark Lord hiding and watching from somewhere? Or perhaps the suffering Seon-Hyeok experienced was part of his greater machinations?

There was no way to tell.

“Those pigs who don’t know what freedom or equality are - the people unaware of the people supporting them. There’s no point in keeping such bastards alive.”

All he could be sure of at the moment was,

“I’m sure you won’t accept, but I’ll ask anyway. Do you have any desire to stand on our side?”

“Get lost, you crazy psychopath.”

It was that he could never live under the same sky as the Dark Lord.

Seon-Hyeok could not possibly know how high of a level the Dark Lord reached, and moreover, this opponent was now complete after acquiring the Fragment of Chaos. In contrast, he still had yet to meet the dragon, and his level was not anything spectacular.

He was inferior in all aspects.

Nonetheless, Seon-Hyeok did not fear him in the slightest.

“Then you must die.”

The Dark Lord declared his death.

“Try it if you can.”

And he openly rejected his enemy’s declaration.

The Dark Lord snorted in derision before unleashing the darkness, and this endless darkness poured down on him.

It was as though the heavens were crashing down.

The draconian’s long snout opened wide, and he spit out flames that set fire to the darkness descending on him.

“How dare you, a dragon rider without a dragon!”

Perhaps he thought he could crush the dragon-less dragon rider in a single blow? The Dark Lord angrily let out a roar.

But this rage lasted only a moment, as he suddenly faltered at the sudden rampaging of the dragon’s aura.

“Do you think I remained here alone without a plan?”

Seon-Hyeok growled violently as he looked at the Dark Lord.

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