Chapter 243. Sudden Change (2)


[8F - Atalos Royal Court, Knight Commander’s Mansion]

One late night in Crevon, Jin Sahyuk was lying on her bed in her mansion that was awarded to her by the Royal Family.

This grand mansion which came with seven attendants was huge, and its interior was simply luxurious. Furthermore, the mansion was filled with expensive appliances and facilities such as a Crystal Ball TV, a natural hot spring, a magic engineering room, a training room, and more. In the lavish stable was the renowned horse ‘Ataly’ bestowed on her by the Royal Family.

“…Hmm.”

It was actually a bit of a question how she came to be treated in this manner.

She initially became Crevon’s knight for the money. And in the process of killing monsters, she gained a number of subordinates. They were appointed by the Royal Family for her.

She vented her pent-up anger on her subordinates, pretending that it was part of a ‘training regime’. After a while, Princess Araha visited her personally to praise her for her ‘leadership’. Soon, she was offered a high-ranking position among the Royal Knights.

At first, she planned to decline but accepted when they offered her TP for the position. She continued to do what she did and in no time was appointed as a Knight Commander.

The reason she stayed in Crevon for so long was because it was comfortable. She found Crevon’s monarchy more comfortable than the strange political system called democracy that Korea seemed to applaud.
Although she was a member of the lofty royal family in the past, it still felt good to be admired as a capable knight by the aristocracy of a kingdom.

“…I’ll grind the others later.”

Jin Sahyuk muttered to herself, trying to ward off her boredom. Night training was just around the corner, and she planned to offer the knights their best boot camp experience in a long time.

But what should she do until then?

“Huaaaam….”

She let out a big yawn, and pulled up the Community.

===
[How do you become Crevon’s knight?]
—I’m not really interested in climbing the Tower. I just wanna become a knight of Crevon.
└An office job at Prestige isn’t too bad either. If you aren’t a Hero, it’s best to head to Prestige and acquire a few skillbooks. Be careful of newbie hunters, though.
└The Chief of Royal Knights in Crevon is this monster called Shin Jahyuk. She’s really strict so she probably won’t accept just anyone.
===

The Community became increasingly active as the number of Players in the Tower of Wish rose to 300,000. The media on Earth began to claim ‘Tower Addiction’ as a social issue, but she believed they themselves were to blame for making their society the way it was. ‘Democracy is a naturally defective system of government,’ she thought.

…Anyways.

To fend off her boredom Jin Sahyuk accessed her ‘personal homepage’, the counterpart of which on Earth was the social media.

“Is there anything fun to do…. Oh, right.”

She was looking around other Player’s homepages using the random visit feature when, suddenly, a thought crossed her mind. She typed a nickname on the search bar.

[Search term — Boss]
[Search result is enhanced as your Player Rank is grade-1.]
[Accessing the personal homepage of Player ‘Boss’….]

She was immediately directed to a basic, seemingly neglected homepage.

[Boss’ Homepage]

“…This woman.”

Bell had told her about this woman. The boss of the Chameleon Troupe, whose nickname itself was ‘Boss’. Jin Sahyuk decided to use her to spy on Kim Hajin’s movements.

Though Boss’ homepage appeared to be unused, Jin Sahyuk looked around carefully. Soon, she discovered a strange article.

“What the heck is this?”

[Novel Reading List]
—New Martial World, Legend of the Martial God, New Royal Secret Inspector….

She either assumed no one would visit her homepage or she didn’t know about the ‘visit’ feature, as she had shamelessly written a series of book reviews. For some reason, she had started out by reading martial arts and fantasy novels, then modern fantasy and drama novels, then ultimately settled on romance novels.

—Only for You, The Secret of the Boss, Our Vows….

Jin Sahyuk turned the system off, unable to look at such shameful titles any longer.

“This woman is the boss?”

She was astounded. At the same time, she remembered the overwhelming strength Boss had put on display. Her flow of magic power was incredible and the destructive power of her shadow was unrivaled.
To be honest, she made Jin Sahyuk’s hair stand on end. Jin Sahyuk wanted to learn from her, if she could.

“So she makes up for her mental deficit with physical strength….”

—No. Byul was always perfect. She was unbelievably strong yet careful, and she compensated her occasional clumsiness with meticulousness.

At that moment, a voice suddenly flowed into Jin Sahyuk’s ears. Startled, she looked up at the ceiling. But there was nothing.

—But Kim Hajin broke her.

“…You piece of shit. Do you have your skill on me again?”

It was, of course, Bell’s doing.
Bell had recently learned all sorts of strange skills. Tracking, Forced Transmission, Summoning, etc. They were all quite bothersome from the perspective of the victim.

—Yeah, but I didn’t have any choice.

“Bullshit. Take it away.”

—Hey, remember, I’m doing this for you. What are you gonna do if Kim Hajin suddenly barges in?

“….”

Her shoulders trembled slightly at his question. The name ‘Kim Hajin’, which she had been trying to avoid thinking about, filled her head up again.

‘…Do you want to go back to your homeland? To Plerion?’

She remembered what Kim Hajin said that day.
He mentioned Prelion and claimed to know something she didn’t.

“Hey, about Kim Hajin.”

And so, Jin Sahyuk spent a large amount of time thinking about him. She thought about him every day and night, and after much anguish and contemplation, she managed to conceive a theory. But this theory wasn’t exactly plausible; it was, in fact, almost impossible.

—Yeah, what about him?

“I know this can’t be true, but maybe, just maybe…”

Though she knew it was impossible— Jin Sahyuk recited her theory. The more ridiculous a hypothesis was, the more one wanted to say it out loud.

“Maybe… he was my servant.”

—Servant?

“Yeah. The fact that he knows about the royal family tells me that he’s also from my old world.”

—…Pfft. Yeah, judging by your personality, I assume there must’ve been a lot of servants who wanted to kill you.

Despite Bell’s mocking remark, Jin Sahyuk managed to dig out the name of a certain servant that had been buried somewhere deep within her subconsciousness.
Kindspring.
The name resembled a warm spring.

“Argh!”

The moment she recalled that name, a sharp pain arose near her temples. It was a side effect of partially sealing the memories of the royal family. A fragment of her memory rebounded from her blurred consciousness.

‘…I swear by my name to serve Your Highness forever.’

This was a memory from a long time ago.
On an unusually cold day, his voice reached her ears. They were at eye level even with him kneeling. It was the very first pledge of loyalty she had received from a servant.

‘…Kindspring, I too receive you as my servant forever.’

The young princess greeted her first servant with manners that had yet to be refined.

—I told you, it’s more likely that Kim Suho told him about it. Don’t worry about it too much. But I am curious, what kind of servant was he?

Bell’s voice interrupted her reminiscence.

“…Why should I tell you? Get rid of this skill now, if you want your head on your shoulder.”

Jin Sahyuk responded sharply.
Bell sensed a change in her atmosphere and chose to withdraw his skill without further comment.

—Okay. I’ll leave now. Take care.

Bell’s presence disappeared.
Jin Sahyuk was now completely alone.

“….”

In heavy silence, she looked outside the window.
The name of her old servant, which was engraved not in her brain but in her heart, approached her like blades.

But this theory was improbable.

For one, Kindspring was already an adult when she was just five.
He assisted her as a swordsman wielding a sword, not a gun nor a bow. Furthermore, if he truly was her old servant, he wouldn’t have tried to kill her so viciously….

However, Jin Sahyuk soon remembered how the loyal Kindspring met his end.

The temperamental and pretentious princess, the living embodiment of ambition and desire, was to blame. In order to recruit a stronger knight, she had chosen to abandon her most loyal servant.

“If… If that really is the case…,”

Furthermore, age didn’t matter much at this point. Him, the lowly varlet of the Knights, and her, the noble blood of the royal family. Hadn’t they both come back to life through ‘reincarnation’?

“…What do you think?”

Trying to remember the faded face of her old servant, Jin Sahyuk asked the princess on the other side of the window.

But before the princess could return an answer, Jin Sahyuk shook her head. She gave a hollow smile.

“Something must be wrong with my head.”

‘Haaaa….’
Jin Sahyuk let out a deep sigh and closed her eyes.

Under her firmly shut eyelids, she saw the snow-mixed northern winds outside the window of the royal castle. She detected a faint scent from the nostalgic scenery. The warmth of the castle and its gentle scent piled up like snow in her heart.

A long time had passed since then, yet the memories were still as fresh as ever.
Suddenly, she felt a weight on her eyelids and opened her eyes, only to discover her vision was blurred.

The former princess realized that she was crying.

**


[28F, Demon Metropolis]

I, Kim Hajin, was back on the 28th floor.
That was good and all, but first I would need to organize my rewards.

[You gain 300SP by killing a devil!]
[2 Devil Annihilation – You made an amazing achievement!]
[By annihilating two devils, you obtain an Authority.]

[Authority ‘Devil Hunter’]
▷Because you’ve extinguished the life of two devils, you may acquire this Authority for 5000 SP. The effect of the Authority is as follows.
—Abyssal Monster: Allows you to use [Partial Devilization] for a short period of time.
—Punishment and Discipline: Allows you to hunt evil existences more easily. Also allows you to instantly dispose of a maximum of six [evil existences whose states of existence aren’t too high], every 72 hours.

[Master Sharpshooter has been promoted to grade-2! Grade-1 is now within arm’s reach!]
[By killing Plucas, SP required for you to acquire the Authority, ‘Devil Hunter’, has decreased by 50%. In addition, when you acquire the Authority, you will receive a special bonus.]

All of these messages popped up after I killed Plucas.
As you can see, there were a quite bit of them.
Two words that stood out the most were undeniably [Devil Hunter] and [Grade-2 Master Sharpshooter].

“Devil Hunter….”

I would need to pay 2,500 SP—5000 SP originally, but I received a 50% discount—in order to acquire this Authority. To explain briefly, Authorities were like Gifts, only higher ranked.

[Would you like to spend 2500 SP and acquire the Authority, ‘Devil Hunter’?]

This could be a double-edged sword, but I had no reason to decline. I could always delete it if it turned out to be unprofitable.

[Yes]
[Acquiring the Authority, ‘Devil Hunter’…]

Even after acquiring the Authority, I didn’t feel any different. Not surprising, of course, since it wasn’t the type of Authority that improved one’s physical specs.

“Partial Devilization….”

There was only one way to find out what it meant. I used Devilization on my right arm.

BOOONG—

Suddenly, magic power gushed out from the Stigma condensed in my right arm. My arm thickened and my fingernails became sharp. It didn’t take long for my magic power, which was originally blue, to turn black.
My arm then took on a shape similar to Plucas’ hand.

“So this is how Divine Power Absorption works.”

I quickly understood the mechanism behind it. It was somewhat similar to how Misteltein, one of my creations, worked. Misteltein absorbed evil existences into its body, while I absorbed them into my own body.

“Huu….”

In any case, this could come in handy someday. No, I could actually start using it right away. Just because I had an enhanced arm now, didn’t mean I suddenly had to engage in any hand-to-hand combat. Shooting arrows or bullets with the devilized arm would result in a similar— no, an even more destructive effect.

“Hmm~”

When I felt that I had the basics down, I got up from my seat. Now it was time to put it to the test in an actual battle. I looked out into the distance and discovered Aileen’s team.

They would soon reach the Demon King’s castle, and Kim Suho would challenge the Demon King repeatedly. Challenge, lose, challenge, lose. Despite the numerous defeats, Kim Suho would never give up and eventually crush the King through extraordinary growth and awakening.

And the reason that the Demon King would keep engaging with Kim Suho without killing him was—

—KWAAANG!

Suddenly, a loud boom came from where Aileen’s party was.
The servants of the Demon King, in other words, the middle bosses, had assaulted Aileen’s party.

—This lump of light will burn all of you alive~!

The right time had come for Fenrir to make a cool entrance, though there wouldn’t be much left for me to do when I got there.
No, maybe there was still a way for me to leave an impression.
[Punishment and Discipline].
I could easily defeat six demons with it.

I ran towards the forest that Kim Suho was in, with a gun in my hand.

**


[Himalayan Daybreak]

CLANG—!
Two swords clashed with a heavy resonance. At a glance, The fierce magic powers and the sparks of flames that arose from the collision seemed to claim that the two parties involved were equal in strength. But in reality, this marked the end of their duel. Though Chae Nayun managed to return the first 19 attacks, she was violently thrown back on the 20th.

“Ahhhhhh….”

Chae Nayun rolled down the stiff slope covered in snow.
Although she got back on her feet right away, she was by no means in the condition to continue.

“…You lost one hundred out of one hundred times. You won’t be able to get what you want at this rate.”

Heynckes smirked at Chae Nayun. Trembling in pain, Chae Nayun still smiled.

“Can’t you see that the gap is decreasing?”

“Really? I don’t see it.”

Heynckes shook his head at Chae Nayun’s sly remark.

“…You just wait. In two weeks, I’ll be the winner.”

The terms for the fight between the Nine Star and high-intermediate rank were as follows: ‘Chae Nayun will try her best and Heynckes will only use one hand against her without even using magic power.’

It was completely unfair even at a glance, yet the Lord of Steel toyed with Chae Nayun as though she was a child. Though things had gotten a little bit better now, in the beginning, the difference between the two might as well have been the difference between a newborn baby and a grown adult.

“But that clause about ‘not using magic power’ is weird. Your body doesn’t need magic power in the first place. You should have given yourself a different penalty.”

“Haha. If I used magic power then your head would be split in two by now. Be quiet and let’s head in.”

“….”

Heynckes’ benign smile showed that he was still treating her like a child, and that bothered Chae Nayun. While it was true that the duel with a member of the Nine Stars was a valuable experience, her primary goal was finding Kim Joongho, the forensic pathologist. In other words, she didn’t have any time to waste.

“Oh, right. Your grandfather seemed to have caused quite a stir.”

Heynckes suddenly looked back at her, with the doorknob in his hand.

“A stir? My grandfather did?”

“Yes. From what I’ve heard, he killed a ‘devil’.”

“…Devil?”

“Correct, devil.”

Kiik— Heynckes opened the door of the inn, and Chae Nayun hurriedly followed Heynckes.

“What does that mean?”

“Well, it means that he killed the devil, quite literally. Are you dense?”

“It’s true that I’m pretty dumb…. Anyway, what do you mean by devil?”

Without answering, Heynckes trudged towards the counter.

“Hello, old man?”

“Literally a devil. You know, like Satan. It seems that a real devil appeared.”

“…Pardon?”

Chae Nayun froze, trying to process the inconceivable idea. Heynckes continued.

“And the man you’re looking for, Kim Joongho, also said that he possessed a devil.”

The name Kim Joongho popped up unexpectedly. At that moment, Chae Nayun widened her eyes and ran towards the counter that Heynckes was standing by.

“What, what do you mean? Old man, tell me more!”

Heynckes looked down at the flurried Chae Nayun and continued calmly.

“I thought that he had gone mad. He looked mad, he sounded mad, but more than anything he kept insisting that he owned the corpse of a devil.”

He stroked his chin as if reminiscing, then took out a copy of Violet Times.

“Now that I think about it, maybe he wasn’t completely mad.”

Chae Nayun stretched her arm hurriedly and snatched the newspaper from his hand.

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FudgeNouget's Thoughts

Devil Transformation will now be used interchangeably with Devilization (though I will probably stick to the latter more often than not).