Chapter 504

‘Now what should we do?’

Hyeonu finished dinner and pounded on his bloated stomach while thinking. It was still too long before he could return to the demon world. The week that the emperor mentioned hadn’t passed by yet.

‘What can I do that isn’t just hunting?’

He wanted to do something to help him with the main scenario, rather than just hunting. It was time to do that.

‘Or should I prepare more for Arena Week...?’

Otherwise, was there a way to acquire more strength for Arena Week? He just had to work the Crescent Moon players harder under the name of ‘special training’. Hyeonu shook his head. ‘That won’t work. They can’t even digest the current training well...’

Thinking about it, he felt it was too much. Just the training with the three of them—Kim Seokjung, Gang Junggu, and Hyeonu—had already pushed the Crescent Moon players to their limits. They would become frustrated at the difference in skill that couldn’t be narrowed, then switch repeatedly between giving up or challenging it.

‘All that is left is the territory...’

If a person couldn’t be stronger, he could make his territory stronger and more prosperous instead. In other words, it was about making the soldiers of Phinis stronger.

‘There is nothing to touch...’

The problem was that just like Crescent Moon, there weren’t any aspects of his territory that he needed to work on. The territory was proceeding well right now, so it was just a matter of time before everything came to fruition. Other than that, no obstacles existed.

‘Should I just go to the demon world?’

No matter how he thought about it, there was nothing for him to do. The emperor had told him not to go over, but Hyeonu had respected his words enough. He didn’t fulfill the order of waiting the entire week, but he’d waited for more than five days. Hyeonu had done as much as he could.

‘It isn’t a quest anyway.’

He wrapped up his brief troubles and immediately took action.

“Return.”

Hyeonu returned to Etono.


***


When Hyeonu appeared in Etono, he looked incredulously at the scene before his eyes. He blinked and repeatedly rubbed his eyes with both hands. A long time passed before Hyeonu opened his firmly closed lips and asked, “Why are you here...?” 

The light voice that emerged from Hyeonu’s mouth didn’t contain any power at all. At Hyeonu’s question, the man sitting on one side of the office said, “Why? That is what I want to ask.” 

Obviously, the owner of the castle here was Hyeonu, since he was the lord of Etono. Nevertheless, Hyeonu failed to give a proper answer as the identity of the man made him hesitate. The man—the emperor—stared at Hyeonu and asked again, “Why aren’t you answering? Are my words ridiculous after you have become a marquis?” 

The emperor’s eyes didn’t have their usual sense of boredom. Instead, they were emitting heat. Hyeonu relaxed the tension running through his entire body and barely managed to open his mouth again. He answered, “No, Your Majesty. A week has passed, so I came back...”

“One week? It has been less than a week since I’ve left the letter.”

“That...” Hyeonu was rendered speechless by the emperor’s words because they were true. Hyeonu had waited five days exactly—only five out of the seven days.

Right then, a voice saved Hyeonu: “Just end it here. Hasn’t it been 10 days since Your Majesty came to Etono? I think it is better to stop joking around.”

Lebron—Hyeonu’s master and a fellow student of John Blake—started to clean up the situation.

The emperor clearly showed that he didn’t like Lebron’s intervention. He frowned and released a rough pressure. “Why are you saying that already? I wanted to have fun. In any case...” 

“Then go drink or maybe we can call it a day. There is something I want to say separately...” Lebron didn’t care about the emperor’s words and only expressed what he wanted to say.

The emperor scowled at Lebron’s actions. “Why are you interfering in the emperor’s speech? You, a duke?”

Lebron stood up from his seat and bowed to the emperor. “I’ll go first, Your Majesty.”

The emperor brought Lebron back to his seat. “Where are you going? And you, Marquis, take a seat. I have something to say.”

Hearing that, Lebron sat down again. It was because he felt the playfulness disappear from the emperor’s words. The moment Lebron sat down, Hyeonu sat beside him. The emperor asked, “Since you’re here, it means that things worked out well in the East Continent, right?”

“Yes, that’s right. I got the official seal from the emperor of the East Continent.” Hyeonu removed the white roll of paper from his inventory and carefully handed it to the emperor. Upon receiving the paper, the emperor unfurled it. As Hyeonu said, the seal of the emperor of the East Continent was stamped there. It was the same as the one in the memory of the West Continent’s emperor.

“Yes... you always complete my requests well.” The emperor smiled deeply at Hyeonu.

Then he blew the paper into the air and said, “The demon world... Every day has been boring since I learned about the demon world.”

The paper quickly turned into black ash and scattered over the table. The emperor’s eyes turned toward the scattered ashes.

“At the same time, I was amused. I was looking forward to it. There are too many things binding me down on the continent—the position of the emperor, the constraints of the lizards. However, there are no lizards in the demon world. There is no one here who cares what I do,” the emperor said while his eyes emitted a golden light.

When Lebron heard the emperor, his expression changed rapidly. His memories from the past came to mind—ones of the emperor who once had such vigor...

‘It is just like when he was cleaning up the inside of the empire.’

The emperor had been at the vanguard of their troops. It was a time when they dyed the continent red with blood together.

‘Are you going to repeat history here, Alexander?’

It was also the time when the emperor moved most freely. Lebron’s uneasy speculation was right. The emperor’s next words were similar to what Lebron thought: “I’m going to wage war in the demon world. The opponents are the demons. I will lead the war myself.”

Hyeonu closed both eyes upon hearing the emperor’s shocking remarks. He hadn’t ruled out this possibility at all. In fact, Hyeonu definitely thought this might be the case. However...

‘It is just a shock to hear it myself.’

It was a bigger shock than expected once he actually heard it.

“Are you really going to wage war against them? A lot of people are going to die, Your Majesty,” Hyeonu tried meaninglessly to persuade the emperor.

He knew very well that the emperor wouldn’t listen.

“The main focus will be the adventurers anyway. What is there to worry about those who don’t die even when dead? There are more than one or two who will risk their lives for wealth and honor,” the emperor’s words said, pointing out the players’ thoughts.

He had grasped the situation well.

‘As long as a quest is presented, they will swarm like ants,’ Hyeonu thought.

It was the same for Hyeonu. For players, the demon world war was just new content. They weren’t bound like Hyeonu and wouldn’t lose their territory if there was a defeat in the war.

‘Once demons appear in the middle world, the dragons will block it.’

In the middle world, the dragons were the emperor’s shackles, but once the demons intervened, they became protective equipment. After all, there were two sides to every coin.

“Master, do you have anything to say?” Hyeonu asked Lebron.

“His Majesty’s decision won’t change. The words that flow out of his mouth aren't just talk. He will make them reality,” Lebron replied. He didn’t intend to stop the emperor. It had nothing to do with him regardless of whether there was a war. On the contrary, if there were one, he would consider it a testing ground to confirm the achievements he’d accumulated during this training period.

“Then what should I do, Your Majesty? Give me any task.” Hyeonu confirmed the attitude of the two people and quickly accepted reality. He took a position to get a quest.

The emperor replied, “Something to do? I’ve heard about the general situation from Duke Lebron. You are working with a demon king?”

“Yes, I joined hands with the strongest demon king and gained the right to survive in the demon world. It is the condition of mutual help.”

“Then persuade him to wage war.”

Huh? What does that mean...” Hyeonu didn’t realize the underlying meaning of the emperor’s words.

‘Go to Baler and start a war?’

That would be no different from killing Hyeonu. It was impossible to put forward such conditions.

“You heard it. Find him and persuade him to start a war in the demon world,” the emperor repeated what he had said before.

Hyeonu gave up asking again and thought about it carefully. What was the truth hidden behind the emperor’s words?

‘Convincing Baler... Starting a war... Give and take?’

There was a steady stream of thoughts.

After being lost in thought for a long time, Hyeonu spoke to the emperor with a more relaxed expression: “You want me to join hands with him again? Start a war under tacit approval. Do you mean to expand the current status quo that is taking place in Etono, Your Majesty?”

Hyeonu came up with a simple idea—wage war with Baler’s consent. Baler would pretend not to know anything and place the demons and demonic creatures closer to Etono while preventing the demon kings from appearing.

‘Then the war can be led with these two at the center.’

Hyeonu thought it was perfect. If it were like this, there would be no reason to lose Etono. Rather, players were more likely to flock to Etono, and it would create a bigger impact.

“That’s right. That is the basis of this war.” The emperor nodded with a smile of satisfaction.

It was because Hyeonu understood his intentions to a certain extent. The emperor clarified the rest of his intentions: “It won’t just stop there. We will try to expand our power while that person is blocking the demon kings. Do not stop the war. Drag it on for as long as possible.”

Hyeonu’s expression stiffened after hearing that. It wasn’t just Hyeonu; Lebron stiffened as well. The emperor’s words were no different from an outright backstab. He meant to push like a bulldozer regardless of how the agreement with Baler turned out.

“In that case, Baler can act directly. However, no matter how powerful Your Majesty is... I don’t think it is necessary to take risks in this type of crisis,” Hyeonu said.

Lebron agreed, “That’s right. My thoughts are the same as Marquis Gang Hyeonu. If you want to run around the battlefield, you should have the minimum of safeguards in place.”

Hyeonu and Lebron tried to stop the emperor, but he was silent. The emperor did not give in. “There’s Duke Blake and you, Lebron. So what is the problem? Once the three of us are gathered, a demon king can’t take us on at all.”

“Duke Blake can’t participate in the war. He made a commitment that if there is a conflict between the middle world and the demon world, he won’t be able to intervene no matter what.” Hyeonu immediately pointed out that the emperor’s words were impossible.

John Blake wasn’t allowed to participate in this war due to his previous promise with Baler.

“It doesn’t matter. This isn’t a war where we will be defeated just because he is absent.” The emperor’s eyes emitted an even stronger light now.

His face was full of intrigue.

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