Chapter 292. Looking Back (2)


“….”

I raised my body without replying. Meanwhile, Bell continued to talk.

“Demon Realm Transformation is progressing even as we speak. It’s still faint so that humans can’t detect it, but it will soon spread to the heart of Earth.”

The final setting of my story – Demon Realm Transformation. This was the phenomenon where the Demon Realm’s land eroded Earth’s. This meant I was heading towards the end of the story.

“No one can stop Demon Realm Transformation. Because it’s the prelude to the descent of devils.”

For the story to have a happy ending, Kim Suho had to eliminate devils and save humanity.

“If you want to stop Demon Realm Transformation, or in other words, if you want to see the best ‘ending’, you should trust me.”

So I couldn’t help but doubt Bell. Somehow, he was even more confident about the ending of the story than me.

“….”

I glared at Bell. Inside the darkness without a single stream of light, Bell received my gaze and smiled leisurely.

“The offer I want to make is simple.”

Bell finished the cigar in his mouth. After a brief silence, he burned it with black magic power. The smoke of the cigar filled the air. Bell spoke inside the acrid smoke.

“Help Sahyuk to kill me.”

“…What?”

My eyebrows furrowed naturally.
But Bell smiled with even greater leisure and continued what seemed like the strangest words.

“I know you and Jin Sahyuk have a complicated relationship… but she’s the only one who can kill me.”

It was then that I realized what seemed so off about Bell.
He didn’t have a ‘desire to live’, which all humans naturally possessed.
Was it because he knew he was Baal’s incarnation body? I couldn’t understand.

“…Can’t you just go to Jin Sahyuk and let her kill you? What’s so complicated about it?”

“Ah, if only it was that easy~”

Bell put on a sad expression.

“I want to die. I’ve lived for too long and have no desire to live. But I do have a survival instinct. Instinct is different than desire because this instinct comes from Baal who resides in my head.”

“But didn’t I kill you with ease before?”

When I killed Bell in the Tower of Wish or, as Bell said, killed his body, I felt no signs of Baal.

“I told you, I won’t die even if I’m killed. Baal only reacts when my existence is at risk of ‘annihilation’. When that happens, Baal should shoot out of my head and erupt into a frenzy.”

Bell paused momentarily. Then, he wore a look of reminiscence like he was remembering something from a long time ago.

“…I’ve killed many because of this instinct.”

A sorrowful smile emerged on his face. But his smile soon disappeared, and he continued speaking in his leisurely tone.

“So I want you to help Sahyuk. She can become much stronger than she is now. Help her get stronger so that she can kill me.”

“….”

“If she doesn’t, Baal will destroy Earth once he descends. That’s something neither you, me, nor that Monster King Orden want.”

I still had many questions and doubts. But I knew Bell was mostly telling the truth thanks to the newly upgraded [Observation and Reading].

[Life force 100/100]
[Name – Bell]
[Alignment – Neutral]
[Realm, Potential – Inestimable]
[Status – Being honest]

Of course, being honest didn’t mean he was telling the truth.
I changed the topic before digging deeper into his explanation.

“What do you mean by betraying Boss?”

“Mm? Oh, Byul?” Bell grinned. “If you can find a way to not betray her, then you don’t have to. But….” Bell’s expression turned serious. “I doubt she’ll accept the fact that you’re cooperating with me. Byul resents me for killing Yeonjun.”

Yeonjun. It was yet another name I didn’t know. I frowned.

“…And who’s Yeonjun?”

“Oh, that’s the Chameleon Troupe’s previous Boss. Byul didn’t tell you, huh. Well, it’s not surprising given how sensitive she is to the topic.”

Bell let out a dry cough.

“Anyways, I’ve told Byul that she would end up betraying you for Yeonjun. I didn’t know things would turn out this way, but it kind of makes sense, doesn’t it? Haha.”

Bell shrugged proudly and acted cutely. It would have been disgusting if he wasn’t so handsome, but in any case, I understood what he meant. In a way, I was the only one who could understand Bell.

He was kind of like me in that he was trying to conclude the story. Bell had chosen Jin Sahyuk for the ending he envisioned, while I had chosen Kim Suho.

One was a growing main character and the other was a growing final boss. But technically, the growing final boss was also one of the protagonists of the story’s latter half.

“Think of yourself as a princess maker. Sahyuk is a princess, after all.”

Bell rested his chin on his hands and stared at me.

“Plus, I don’t think it’s a coincidence that Chundong came to be Sahyuk’s servant.”

“Don’t talk about Chundong in front of me.”

Synchronization percentage increased every time I heard Kim Chundong’s name. It was already at 10.9%. It wouldn’t be wrong to say my feet now belonged to him.

“Okay, I won’t.”

Bell smiled brightly. He then walked up to me and placed his hands on my shoulders.

“So? Will you do it? If you do, I’ll support you so that Sahyuk can become yours.”

I frowned at the strange connotation in his words.

“…I don’t want Jin Sahyuk to become mine.”

Bell replied casually.

“Just think of it as my dying will.”

**


Underground Resistance Village.
The commotion died down only when the sun set. Cheok Jungyeong and Aileen calmed the Chameleon Troupe’s Boss, who suddenly went berserk, and Jin Sahyuk shuddered at the unjust treatment she received.

“I’m going.”

Although the Heroes present were able to prevent a full-out fight from breaking out, Jin Sahyuk decided to leave the village with hurt feelings. She had no reason to stay since Bell ran away.

“…Here, take this.”

Kim Suho was the only one who came to see her off. Kim Suho handed her a bag filled with bento boxes and other dry food that could easily last two weeks.

“….”

Jin Sahyuk stared at Kim Suho unhappily, but she took the bag anyways. She knew how important food was from the last experience she suffered.

“Sorry, I tried to do something about it, but we’re allied with the Chameleon Troupe for now, so…”

“Chameleon Troupe.”

Jin Sahyuk turned around with the bag under her armpit.

“Don’t trust them. They’re worse than me.”

She then grabbed onto the ladder to the surface. Kim Suho watched Jin Sahyuk climb the ladder. Eventually, he couldn’t help but shout, “OI!”

“….”

Jin Sahyuk turned around. As Kim Suho once served Jin Sahyuk as a knight, he had complicated feelings towards her.

“Didn’t you come for me? You’re just going to leave without fighting me?”

Jin Sahyuk stared at Kim Suho blankly before letting out a small snicker.

“…Bastard, did you develop a crush on me?”

That was it. Jin Sahyuk didn’t say anything else and just disappeared up the ladder.

“Huu….”

Kim Suho still had mixed feelings.
He had settled his past, but Jin Sahyuk was still clearly bound by it. That was why she regarded him as a traitor.

But looking at her back, he didn’t feel good. Though she was a powerless leader, she was still the king he once served.

Aileen approached as Kim Suho fell in thought.

“Don’t worry about someone like her. Tigris will be coming in two days.”

Aileen crossed her arms.

“The rehearsal is starting soon, so follow me.”

“…Yes.”

Kim Suho nodded and slowly turned around. He then trudged towards the village hall with Aileen.

**


…Two days later, in Doloren Square located in the heart of Lupiton.

“I will say this again. We will be victorious—!”

Both humans and humanoid monsters gathered at Doloren Square where Tigris’s voice rang out. His roar shook heaven and earth, and his speech ended with loud applause from everyone.

“Great, Lupiton is satisfactory.”

Tigris nodded contently before walking down from the podium.

“Lord Tigris, Lord Tigris.”

At that moment, an ant humanoid monster walked up to him.

“Village Lord Pleron would like to invite you to a banquet.”

“No need. She should be satisfied seeing my face here. I don’t want to waste any more time. Rather than that, where’s Horseless?”

“Ah, Lord Horseless is enjoying a nap at the moment.”

Tigris’s secretary didn’t forget to address Horseless with respect. He knew dozens of humanoid monsters who were beheaded for addressing Horseless casually.

“We’ve been quite busy lately, so he must be tired. Thankfully, tomorrow is the last day.”

Tigris headed to the mansion Horseless was sleeping in. Following him were 66 rank-1 humanoid monsters, who were all elites equivalent in strength to high-rank grade-1 Heroes.

“Mm, there he is.”

Tigris arrived at the well-decorated stable built just for Horseless. It was full of beautiful and rare plants and flowers.

“Horseless!”

Horseless instantly reacted to Tigris’s voice.

—Hiiing!

“Hahaha, you wanted to see me too?”

Tigris embraced Horseless who ran into his arms. They were only separated for four hours, yet they acted as though they were reunited after years.
Tigris, who was stroking Horseless’s mane, suddenly heard Horseless’s whisper. Tigris stood frozen for a moment, then nodded his head.

“…Oi, did you feed this child?”

Tigris asked the human who was in charge of the stable.

“Yes, we served him the best food available.”

“And what was that?”

“T-That’s….”

The human didn’t answer, but Tigris wasn’t expecting to hear one. Tigris immediately crushed the human’s head, turning him into pulp.

“…Fool.”

Tigris glanced at the corpse then hopped on Horseless. Horseless greeted his owner with a happy expression.

“Make sure to prepare proper meat in the next village. Otherwise, you will be the next to die.”

Tigris’s solemn warning caused all his servants to bow.

“Let’s go!”

Tk, tk.
Horseless’s clear galloping sound rang out as Tigris marched forward.
Lupiton’s residents sent him unconditional applauses, and Tigris left the village feeling content.

“I can’t get used to seeing humans all happy. If it wasn’t for King Orden… don’t you think so?”

Tigris grumbled viciously the moment he left the village.

“Yes, I am always amazed by Lord Tigris’s patience and virtue.”

The ant secretary eagerly played along with Tigris.
The group slowly headed to their next destination and soon reached a vast wilderness.

“Huaaaam—!’

Tigris yawned, which sounded more like a roar.

“What villages are left?”

“Crean and Loren. Crean is a low-rank village and Loren is a mid-rank…?”

Just as the ant secretary was reciting their itinerary, an arrow-like object flashed in the sky.

Paaaang—!

A huge wind pressure fiercely swallowed the surrounding air. This came from Tigris’s punch. He had immediately tried to eliminate the object that was targeting Horseless.

However, the Divine Archer’s arrow wasn’t so easily broken. It multiplied like a spider web and assaulted Tigris and Horseless.

Whish—!

Jin Seyeon’s magic arrow bound Tigris’s arm, then dug further down to pierce Horseless’s heart.

“…!”

Immediately, Tigris fell forward. Although he landed safely, the same couldn’t be said for Horseless.
With his heart destroyed by a fatal arrow, Horseless fell to the side helplessly.

“….”

When Tigris saw Horseless, his thoughts stopped. He ran up to him in a daze, moving only by instinct.

—Hi…iing…

Horseless was gasping for air. Looking at his beloved owner, he was letting out his final breaths, struggling to live.

—….

But it wasn’t long until his breathing stopped. The horse died with its eyes open. Tigris stared at his beloved horse in a frozen state. He felt like he was dreaming. Everything felt surreal, and his brain refused to accept the current situation as reality.

“This… what….”

The ant secretary slowly approached Tigris. He could only see Tigris’s back, which was trembling unnaturally.

“Um… Lord Tig…”

The ant secretary couldn’t finish his sentence.

“—!”

Tigris roared, his voice full of rage and uncontrollable madness. He stood up and glared at his servants. His tearful eyes had already lost focus.
Drowning in rage, Tigris turned into a beast that acted on its instinctive desire to destroy.

**


On the other hand, Jin Sahyuk walked deeper into Africa. She came to Africa to find Bell, but now she had an additional goal.

Training to become stronger.

Jin Sahyuk felt she had been too lazy lately. She felt especially powerless after fighting the so-called boss of the Chameleon Troupe.

Jin Sahyuk walked through Africa, chasing after the scent Bell purposefully left behind. If any monster or humanoid monster dared to hinder her, she simply killed them.

“Hm… Was this what Bell was aiming for?”

And the current result was this.
Thousands of monsters and humanoid monsters were surrounding her.

The fight was well underway. Jin Sahyuk released countless weapons that shred the lives of monsters, and a mountain of corpses began to build up. However, there was seemingly no end to the number of monsters.

“Give up, Jin Sahyuk, kereuk.”

A humanoid monster resembling a drake spoke. He seemed to be the commander of the army.

Jin Sahyuk’s eyes widened.

“You know my name?”

“Kereuk. Of course, you became the King’s servant, yet betrayed him and ran away after just one week.”

“…Oh, you’re talking about that?”

Jin Sahyuk had received Akatrina’s crystal from Orden, but she didn’t remember becoming his servant. Jin Sahyuk made a wry smile.

“Are you prepared to die, kereuk?”

“….”

Jin Sahyuk checked her physical condition without answering. She had been pushing herself for the past month without proper rest, so she couldn’t say she was in excellent condition. In fact, it was below average due to the fight two days earlier.

“Are you ready to die?”

But just as expected, Jin Sahyuk pushed herself into a corner. Pushing herself to overcome her limits was how she planned to get stronger. Jin Sahyuk was confident in her potential.

“Kereuk, foolish human—!”

The drake shouted and spat out a fireball.

Kwaaaa—!

Jin Sahyuk jumped up to dodge the attack, but flying monsters quickly charged towards her. Jin Sahyuk manipulated the air current and strangled them to death.

“…How do you lot breed so quickly?”

The humanoid monsters and monster birds’ attacks continued.
Jin Sahyuk had limited magic power, yet the option of escaping never entered her brain.
The endless fight left numerous scars on Jin Sahyuk’s body. Her bleeding never ceased, her armor torn, and her hair cut. Overcoming the situation seemed to be the farthest thing from reach, as the situation only worsened as time passed.

It was then. As Jin Sahyuk continued to lead a solitary battle…

“Kereuk! Die, traitor…?”

An arrow struck the throat of the roaring drake. The arrow then shot up and pierced the drake’s head.

“…Kereeeuk.”

The drake died, but the mysterious arrow was only getting started.

Chwaaaa—

A total of five black arrows came flying through the sky. They drew black traces in the air and moved like five autonomous birds.

“…?”

Jin Sahyuk stared at the arrows in a daze. The arrows moved at an incomprehensible speed, taking the lives of numerous monsters. The lines drawn by the arrows resembled something out of a modern art museum.

Kuak, keuk, guuuk—!

Monsters fell one-by-one. The death toll reached two-digits, three-digits, then four-digits.
All this happened in less than 3 seconds.

“…Who is it.”

When Jin Sahyuk asked, the owner of the arrows showed himself without a moment of hesitation.

“Over here.”

The voice came from above. Jin Sahyuk looked up.
On a nameless mountain, the man she was looking for along with Bell was standing there.
Kim Hajin.
Jin Sahyuk furrowed her brows, while Kim Hajin spoke expressionlessly.

“Come up.”

“…What?”

Kim Hajin explained to the confused Jin Sahyuk.

“For the next six months…”

Then, he nocked another arrow on his bow. This one was a pure white arrow that clearly contrasted with his previous black arrows. Although Jin Sahyuk had no way of knowing this arrow’s identity, it was the mythical [Lv.11 Athena’s Moonlight Arrow].

“I’ll be by your side.”

Kim Hajin finished his sentence, but Jin Sahyuk didn’t understand him for a long time. Three seconds? Five seconds? Once the words sank in, Jin Sahyuk’s eyes quickly widened, and Kim Hajin let go of his bowstring.

Kwaaaaa—!

Athena’s Moonlight Arrow, infused with Stigma’s magic power, erupted with a huge, pure current and shot towards the army of monsters.

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