Chapter 596

Viscount Garcia just barely managed to start speaking again after a long while. His expression, which was unable to hide that he found this situation absurd, was a bonus.

“What opportunity…?” he uttered. Asking him to abandon the city and leave wasn’t giving him a chance. It was intimidation. Who on earth would take it as an opportunity?

“If you can protect your life... Is there a better opportunity than this?” Hyeonu asked. He smiled and continued, “Of course, it is up to you to accept this offer. I just... hope you know this isn’t a bad offer for you.”

Viscount Garcia bit his lip. He knew in his mind and heart that Hyeonu’s words weren't that convincing. Even so, he couldn’t refuse.

‘It is whether I die right now or in the war.’

If he was going to flee during the war anyway, it didn’t make a difference if he abandoned the city and ran away now. It might be more comfortable to run away with the ring that indicated he was the master of Penn.

"I understand. I’ll leave Penn in a few days.” Viscount Garcia accepted Hyeonu’s proposal.

However, there was still one thing left.

“The ring. Please leave the ring proving that you are the master of Penn,” Hyeonu said. 

Garcia’s expression became distorted in an instant.

Hyeonu added mockingly, “Did you intend to take that with you when leaving the city? Tsk, tsk...”

Viscount Garcia gritted his teeth and took off the ring he was wearing before placing it on the table. There was no need to hand it over, but if he didn’t do that, he didn’t know when Hyeonu would attack. As a clear metallic sound rang through the room, Hyeonu moved over leisurely to pick up the ring. He checked the item information and confirmed that the ring was real before placing the ring in his inventory.

Hyeonu instructed, “Viscount Garcia, leave Penn and go to Blanc where John is. In addition... choose a suitable territory under John.”

Viscount Garcia’s gaze changed. An expression of doubt suddenly appeared in his eyes, which had been full of anger, despondency, and despair. He couldn’t understand Hyeonu’s words.

‘Choose a territory?’

Viscount Garcia questioned, “What do you mean? Choose a territory? A territory isn’t something I can get just because I choose it.”

Hyeonu laughed. Why couldn’t it be chosen? He stated, “It is just a matter of the master of the city disappearing. Don’t think in such a complicated manner.”

After hearing that, Viscount Garcia got goosebumps all over his body. Hyeonu spoke too casually like it was nothing at all.

“Before that, there are a few questions I want to ask of you,” Hyeonu said. 

“What?” Viscount Garcia replied. 

“Please recommend to me eight cities near Etono. They need to be a good distance away from Etono and somewhat far from other cities.”

“Eight? Why?” Viscount Garcia felt uneasy for some reason.

“Why do you think so?”

“The war...”

“That’s right. I am going to determine the cities that will be occupied in the war.”

Viscount Garcia shut his mouth and was unable to open his mouth for a long while. A short time later, the names of eight cities flowed from Viscount Garcia’s mouth: "Alfore, Ataki, Tendmul, Shusra, Twei, Angkuram, Sulron, Reinavic.”

Hyeonu reflected on the names of the cities that Viscount Garcia mentioned.

‘Alfore, Ataki, Tendmul, Shusra, Twei, Angkuram, Sulron, Reinavic.’

He memorized them. Then he asked the question he was curious about, “Please tell me the titles of the masters and what demon king they are under.”

“In order, Alfore, Ataki, and Tendmul are cities ruled by nobles under the dead Damanos. Shusra and Twei are cities ruled by nobles under the demon king Galiya. The other three are cities under other demon kings, but it's not John.”

None of the eight cities that Viscount Garcia mentioned were nobles under John.

‘It isn’t a coincidence. It is intentional,’ Hyeonu thought. Otherwise, it didn’t make sense to not include a single city under John.

‘It’s not like there are none.’

This was evidenced by how Viscount Garcia didn’t mention Quere, which was currently empty without a master.

"Hrmm... Please wait a moment,” Hyeonu said to Viscount Garcia before taking Baler’s map out of inventory. Then he examined the locations of the eight cities Viscount Garcia mentioned.

‘This much... is okay.’

It wasn’t bad.

The locations of the eight cities didn't form a circle around Etono as Hyeonu originally wanted. However, Etono became a common endpoint from which the other eight cities spread out in a fan shape.

‘The emperor and Lebron are in Etono, so I don't need to think about defense...’

From a certain point of view, this was better. It wasn’t intentional, but now it had become a situation of only attacking without looking back.

Hyeonu expressed, “This is very good. Okay.”

Hearing that, Viscount Garcia couldn’t help sighing with relief. Then he immediately became aware of his behavior and gulped because he realized that a fear of Hyeonu had arisen deep in his heart.

“Take care. I’ll be going now,” Hyeonu said. 

Having achieved his desired purpose, he left Penn without any concern. He couldn’t afford to spend any more time here; time was scarce.


***


Hyeonu left Penn and headed for Tendmul, one of the eight cities that Viscount Garcia mentioned, which was only a slight distance from Penn. There were several reasons why Hyeonu went to Tendmul first. One was the absence of Damanos, and this was the biggest reason. Now that the central demon king had disappeared, there was nothing in Tendmul that could threaten Hyeonu.

‘It would be great if they were fighting among themselves over the city.’

Tendmul was quite close to Penn, and two of the eight cities were concentrated around Tendmul. The route had been completed, so the journey to Tendmul didn’t take that long. Additionally, Viscount Garcia had given Hyeonu a mount. It was similar to the mount Hyeonu rode in the past when he was on the quest related to Earl Delrun.

“Tang-E, is it interesting?” Hyeonu asked Tang-E, who was running around on the back of the huge rhinoceros.

“Yes, it's fun, Master dude.” Tang-E nodded as he continued to run around on the rhino’s back.

“Play as much as you want.” Hyeonu smiled at Tang-E and lay down on the rhino’s back.

‘In a few hours, I’ll have to get ready for Arena Week.’

The time had flown past.

‘The raid time attack...’ 

The raid time attack was the least burdensome among the three Arena events. It was also the event where Crescent Moon had the strongest chance of coming first, so Hyeonu had no worries at all. Truth be told, he was confident he could win even if all the other participating teams carried out the raid time attack as one team. 

‘It is embarrassing now that my specs have completely changed...’

Hyeonu had a different worry. What if it ended too quickly? The gap between his specifications and those of the players of the other teams was now excessively large.

‘If it is a boss monster that other teams can kill... I’ll kill it much faster.’

It didn’t matter what boss monster came out. If other people could kill it, it would be even easier for Hyeonu to do so.

Just then, the running rhinoceros suddenly fell down. Hyeonu quickly got up, grabbed Tang-E—who was about to fall from midair—and kicked off from the rhinoceros’ back.

“What is going on, Master dude?” Tang-E looked at Hyeonu, appearing puzzled by the sudden situation.

"I don't know.” Hyeonu hadn’t properly grasped the situation. It had happened too quickly.

‘Who attacked?’ Hyeonu turned his head and looked around. However, he didn’t see or feel anything suspicious. In fact, Hyeonu hadn’t sensed any signs at all until the rhino collapsed.

‘How did they attack?’

Hyeonu had an eerie feeling for the first time in ages.

‘If I had been hit..’

Of course, he couldn’t confirm if he would’ve died or not until he was hit. Still, he couldn’t think positively. He had just been lucky. There was no guarantee it would always be like this.

After landing on the ground, Hyeonu quickly glanced at the rhino’s body while looking around. He was searching for the wound.

‘Here.’

Hyeonu soon found the wound, which was under the horn of the rhinoceros. There was a hole the size of a small fist.

“Does this make sense...?”

As he examined the wound, he looked dumbfounded. The inside of the hole was completely empty. It was literally just a vacant space.

‘It was blown away all at once?’

In that case, it made sense why the rhinoceros had collapsed at once. It would be stranger if it had managed to hold on. How could it still be alive when its brain and other internal organs had completely disappeared?

“I have to start running again from here...” Hyeonu sighed. He had thought he could go comfortably, but he bumped into an unexpected barrier.

‘I can’t just run again though...’

Until he figured out who and how the rhinoceros was attacked, Hyeonu had to be careful while traveling. He didn’t know when he would die like the rhinoceros.

‘Let's be careful.’

It wasn’t difficult to focus his senses around him when he was running fast. Of course, it was actually difficult, but it was something that anyone with a sense for virtual reality games could do. The truly difficult part was maintaining it while running fast by using magic power. It was because his concentration would be dispersed.

Hyeonu held Tang-E and kicked off from the ground. No, he was about to do so if it wasn’t for a sign entering his eyes.

‘What is this?’

The rhino had crashed into a huge rock as it collapsed. Unable to overcome the weight of the running rhinoceros, the huge rock was pushed back slightly, and something appeared on the ground where the rock had been.

That something was a square stone tablet. Around half of it had appeared from where it had been hidden by the rock. On the stone tablet was a complex pattern, and Hyeonu knew what it was.

‘A magic circle!’

He didn’t know the exact meaning and function of the pattern, but he knew it was a magic circle. Hyeonu quickly approached it. The moment his feet touched the magic circle, a message window appeared in front of him.


[Do you wish to enter the Traces of the Empire Left in the Demon World?]


It was an instance dungeon. Moreover, it was one with a very meaningful name.

‘Traces of the empire?’

Hyeonu knew the name of the only empire that could be in the demon world.

‘The Luos Empire!’

Luos was an ancient empire that had fought the divine world, the demon world, and the dragons. Its traces remained here in the demon world.

“I will enter,” Hyeonu answered in an urgent voice. His figure disappeared in an instant.

Far from where Hyeonu was, someone was watching him from up in the sky.

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