Chapter 333. One Step (2)


Chae Nayun and Shin Jonghak arrived at the Republic to attend the Transnational Peace Conference.

They traveled by carriage. The place where they would stay for the next 2 weeks was the mansion of the well-known billionaire ‘Larin’. He had formally invited them to his home, as Shin Jonghak came from a respectable family by the name of ‘Priton’.

“Mm….”

This grand mansion was located in the capital city of Leores, where the price of land was extremely high.

“It’s pretty big. I’d say it’s about the size of my room.”

Chae Nayun’s assessment of the mansion, however, was rather brutal. She was born and raised in Chae Joochul’s hanok, so it was only natural that she regarded this mansion mundane.

“Nothing really stands out….”

Her gaze roamed across the room and landed on Shin Jonghak.

“…Dude. What’re you doing?”

Shin Jonghak was reading a small notebook. When Chae Nayun called him, he raised his head and turned to her.

“I’m looking at the list of guests.”

“What’s that?”

“There are other people staying in this mansion besides us. Airun, Draven…. Apparently, they’re all famous nobles in the Kingdom. I figured I should at least have their names memorized.”

“…Oh, I see.”

Chae Nayun didn’t care much about networking, so she went out to the balcony. Her whole body ached, presumably because she’d been inside a carriage all day.

“…Hmmm.”

She leaned against the balustrade and gazed into the distance. Her eyes captured the view of the street below. The scenery, which was just the right combination of the past and the present, appeared quite mysterious.

“Mm…?”

As Chae Nayun continued to watch the busy street, an upside down face of a woman appeared in front of her.

“…”

She stared at the face for 1 second, 2 seconds, 3 seconds….

“…Fuuuck!”

Chae Nayun yelled in surprise, fell backward and rolled into the room.

“Hahahaha.”

The woman who appeared like a ghost, Jin Sahyuk, walked into the room with a proud laugh.

“D-Dammit. You asshole, why’d you do that for—?”

Chae Nayun flew at Jin Sahyuk like an angry bull, but Jin Sahyuk stopped her with chains of magic power.

“Argh! These chains again?!”

“Shh. I need to tell you something, so listen up. You too, Shin Jonghak.”

Jin Sahyuk’s voice sounded somewhat forlorn.

**


[The Republic of Leores — The first day of the Transnational Peace Conference]

Late night.
I had fallen asleep on the watchtower but suddenly woke up.

—Are you watching me?

It was because of the voice that was flowing into my ears.
At first, I thought Chae Nayun was trying to reach me.

—Answer if you’re watching me.

But this voice undoubtedly belonged to a man. It was also full of animosity and murderous intent.

“…?”

—Some nerve you have to follow me like this.

“What… ah.”

Only then did I realize what was happening. I shared my vision with the Observer.

—It looks like you can see me now.

Yi Yeonjun was right in front of me. With the Observer in his hand, he glared at me with his dark eyes.

—Answer me.

“…How did you find out?” I asked.

The Observer delivered my question to Yi Yeonjun, who promptly scoffed.

—Did you really think that your cheap trick would work against me?

“Mm…. So what?”

—…What?

I tried to stay as calm as possible.

“This might actually be better. Why don’t we meet up right now? It’s pretty clear that we dislike each other.”

Now that I had access to my Gifts and weapons, I was confident that I could defeat Yi Yeonjun.

—…Haha.

Yi Yeonjun only laughed. Was he scared? Or was he making fun of my boldness?

—Fine. See you in four days.

The latter seemed to be the case. He nodded in satisfaction and announced the date.

“And the location?”

—I’ll notify you through this bird when the time comes. I’ll be keeping it with me until then.

“…Go ahead.”

—I will.

Immediately, the vision of the Observer darkened and Yi Yeonjun’s voice stopped as well.

“…Tsk. All this right after I wake up?”

I swept my hair and sighed. I hadn’t expected my Observer to get caught. Thankfully, I managed to play it cool….

“Hajin-ssi?”

“Uaaak!”

I jumped 5 meters into the air.

“Woah!”

Rachel also threw her hands in the air out of surprise.

“…”

“…”

After the moment of surprise, we stared at each other awkwardly before I finally let out a dry cough.

“W-When did you get here, R-Rachel-ssi?”

“Eh? Ah, it’s nothing important. It’s just that, Hajin-ssi….”

But we didn’t get to hold a conversation.

—Emergency, emergency! This is Yi Younghan! Several demons have infiltrated this place! We need help!

The crystal vibrated wildly, crying for backup.
Rachel and I jumped through the window of the watchtower at the same time. The watchtower was 130 meters tall but shrouded in magic power, we had nothing to fear.

KOOOONG—!

After the landing we darted forward, enduring the soreness in our calves.

**


Five minutes later.

We arrived at the location where Yi Younghan had sent the backup request.
It was the capital’s underground sewer system.
Surrounded in darkness and humidity, Kim Horak and Yi Younghan were fighting dozens of demons.

“What happened here?” I asked.

Kim Horak answered, “We’re not sure. We followed the trail of demonic energy and found them here.”

Kim Horak had started addressing me more politely after our first meeting. I didn’t know why. Apparently, he just felt like it.

“They look fairly strong. Will the four of us be enough?” Yi Younghan muttered worriedly. He wiped the sweat off his forehead and grabbed his gauntlet.

“Well….”

I scanned the demons and tried to guess.

[A total of 24 demons awaken your instinct.]
[In the face of huge demonic presences, all your variable stats have increased by 49%.]

Increased by 49%.

“I think we can pull it off.”

The situation wasn’t as bad as it seemed.

“Uhahaha—!”

At that moment, the sound of hearty laughter resonated across the sewer.
Tap, tap—
A demon who looked like a mummy came forward.

“You make me laugh, human.”

Saying so, the demon gathered demonic energy in his hand. The other demons did the same, gathering demonic energy in their hands, mouths, and chests.
Soon, stifling demonic energy filled the entire sewer.

“You strive to work together to defeat us, but it’s no use. You won’t stand a chance against the Duke of Hell!”

The demon shot condensed demonic energy towards me.

“Return to dust, human…?”

The energy flew at me in the shape of a boomerang, and I easily grabbed it with my hand.

[‘Exorcism’ has been activated. The power of demonic energy has been reduced by 90%.]
[The amount of reduction is affected by your luck.]

“I see you have a trick up your sleeve, human.”

“…Huh? Oh no, this isn’t-”

“Kill him!”

The demon who seemed to be the leader shouted, and this time all of the demons released their demonic energy at the same time.
The energy waves from 23 different demons merged into one as they flew straight towards me. I held out my hand.

KWAAAAAA—!

The explosion of demonic energy shook the earth.
All the water in the sewer evaporated. The atmosphere heated up and poisonous gas began to fill the air. The energy wrecked everything surrounding it and swallowed me whole….

“Kuhahaha…?”

The demon laughed again.
But his laughter stopped midway.
It was only natural because even after being struck by the enormous mass of demonic energy, I was standing still, completely intact.

“…Huhu. This….”

With a smile, I checked the system window.

[Gift Exorcism has been activated. The power of demonic energy has been reduced by 95%.]

“…doesn’t hurt at all.”

An astounding 95%.

“…What did you say, human?”

“Well well, it seems that,” I continued cheerfully, ”You won’t be able to lay a finger on me.”

I was more suited to fighting demons than anyone else.

**


[Earth - Tower of Heroes]

—Rank 3 Vassago, Rank 14 Leraje, Rank 29 Astaroth, Rank 62 Valac. So far, we were able to identify these four devils.

An emergency meeting was taking place at the Tower of Heroes located in Gwanghwamun, Korea. Demon Realm Transformation, which humans thought they had successfully put off, was beginning to spread again due to the appearance of devils with incarnation bodies.

—Valac and Astaroth are the more aggressive of the four.

The organizer of today’s meeting was Yi Gongmyung who had brilliantly led the Orden Annihilation Mission not so long ago.

“Then…”

The audience was comprised of Heynckes the Lord of Steel, Chae Joochul the Immortal, and the Association’s chairmen, Yi Yookho and Kim Sukho.
All four participants had great influence over the Association.

“Does that mean the other two aren’t aggressive?”

—Vassago and Leraje aren’t.

Yi Gongmyung answered Heynckes.

—I’m not sure whether they’re building up power or simply not interested in fighting. I’ve only heard rumors about them. But we do know for certain that they’re not involved in Demon Realm Transformation currently.

“Rumors?” Kim Sukho asked with a frown, “What kind of rumors?”

—These are the rumors regarding the devils.

Yi Gongmyung immediately pulled up the slide about the rumors as if he had been expecting Kim Sukho’s question.

===
[Season 5 Gladiator of the Century Official Ranking]
1. Lijengyi — 393 official matches, 391 wins and 2 draws
2. SpamMachine — 584 official matches, 404 wins, 170 losses and 10 draws
3. …
===

“Gladiator of the Century?”

Kim Sukho rubbed his temple in confusion.

—This user right here who goes by the username Lijengyi is rumored to be Leraje.

“…Oi, Yi Gongmyung. Are you trying to be funny?”

Kim Sukho raised his voice, but Yi Gongmyung remained calm.

—That was my initial reaction as well. But I contacted the capsule developers and investigated Lijengyi’s account. And the result-

Yi Gongmyung changed the screen again. This time, it showed a record of all the games Lijengyi had ever played and the amount of time she had spent playing each game.

Not just Gladiator of the Century but also Grand Theft Auto, Three Kingdoms, Become a Legend, etc… Lijengyi had spent a total of 4000 hours playing different games.

—An astounding 4000 hours. If we take into account the date her account was created, this means that she’s been playing games almost nonstop ever since.

“…Ha.”

Kim Sukho let out a dumbfounded laugh.

“Are you trying to say that this devil is a game addict?”

—Yes, at least according to the rumors.

Yi Gongmyung nodded slightly and changed the screen.

—While Leraje is busy playing games, Valac, the most aggressive of all, is….

The video showed the part of the Sahara that had been completely transformed into the Demon Realm.
In it, monsters were moving in an orderly fashion under Valac’s command.

—As you can see, Vakac is creating an army.

“…So it seems.”

Kim Sukho’s expression stiffened.
At that moment, Chae Joochul, who had been quiet all along, opened his mouth.

“I heard there’s a remarkable summon magician in England.”

His comment didn’t seem at all related to the contents of the meeting. His voice was as emotionless as always.

—Yes, that is correct.

Yi Gongmyung answered, not shaken by the sudden change of subject.

—She’s Lady Ah Hae-In’s pupil.

Kim Sukho frowned.

“Ah Hae-In?”

—Yes. However, because Lady Ah Hae-In was very secretive, I couldn’t find out the details.

“…Good. Let’s not meddle with Ah Hae-In.”

Kim Sukho let out a dry cough and lowered his head. The position of a 9-star magician was simply too great. The Association could probably handle one 9-star magician; what they really feared was the opposition from other magicians that revered 9-star magicians.

—I understand. And, this is my last report for the day. A strange phenomenon occurred last week at a beach in Vladivostok.

The long meeting was finally coming to an end.
Yi Gongmyung showed the security footage of Vladivostok from 3 days ago.

—Please take a look.

All four VIPs turned to the screen.

…The word ‘strange’ well suited the 5-second-long footage.

“What was that? I didn’t get a clear look.”

Even Chae Joochul and Heynckes, who had been sitting comfortably until now, leaned forward. Yi Gongmyung played the footage one more time.

…Chwaaaa..

What happened was fairly straightforward.
A number of monsters appeared off the shore of Vladivostok. Suddenly a gust of wind raved across the sea and all the monsters were dead.
That was all there was.

“Can’t you play it more slowly?”

Heynckes seemed quite perplexed as well.
It was quite obvious that this wind was not a natural phenomenon, but because it had moved so fast, he couldn’t identify its source.

—It has already been slowed down to the limit. The Russian Government handled the remains of the monsters. They said that the bodies were cut by something sharp.

“…Is this also the work of the devils?” Heynckes asked.

—Nothing is for certain, but… I don’t believe the Devils were involved in this.

“And what’s your reason?”

Yi Gongmyung nodded and continued.

—We took a look at the flow of magic power in Vladivostok and its vicinity and discovered the pulsation of a certain type of magic power. We found this pulsation familiar.

“So?”

Kim Sukho interrupted Yi Gongmyung and waved his hand impatiently.

“If it’s not the devils, then what is it?”

—….

Yi Gongmyung fell silent for the first time today.
He looked at Kim Sukho, then Chae Joochul, then Heynckes, then Yi Yukho, and….

—I believe it’s…

He uttered a name that didn’t belong to any devil.
His declaration startled even the Immortal.

—‘Orden’.

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