Chapter 339. The Stories of Characters (5)

[Republic of Leores - Large underground bunker]

Meanwhile, Kim Suho headed to an underground bunker in the Republic's capital to evacuate the rescued citizens. The bunker, which was designed by Yoo Yeonha, was fully capable of accommodating the majority of citizens.

“Thank you, thank you….”

After smiling at the citizens’ tearful expression of gratitude, he headed to Yoo Yeonha’s office.
A nameplate that read [Bunker Operations Planning Office] hung at the door.
Inside, Yoo Yeonha was speaking to outsiders on the radio.

“…Did you just say that the right side of the barrier was breached?”

This took Kim Suho by surprise. Baal’s barrier was difficult to break even with his Gift.

“Mm… got it. Ah, we’re protecting Miss Seraine, so you don’t have to worry about her. Keep up the good work.”

Yoo Yeonha threw a glance at Kim Suho and cut off the radio.
Kim Suho was the first to speak.

“The barrier was breached?”

“Yeah, apparently.”

Yoo Yeonha had a rough idea of who was responsible for the destruction. Naturally, she heaved a sigh of relief.

‘I hadn’t heard from him in a while and wondered if something bad had happened, but I guess he’s alive and well.’

“Who-”

KOOONG—! But the door swung open even before Kim Suho could finish his question. Kim Suho and Yoo Yeonha turned their gazes to the entrance.
Aileen was there.
She approached them with an excited expression and yelled, “Black Lotus is here!”

Kim Suho and Yoo Yeonha each responded differently.

“What?!”

“….”

Kim Suho’s nostrils flared in surprise, while Yoo Yeonha carefully examined the reactions of both Aileen and Kim Suho.
Aileen nodded eagerly and continued.

“Yes! Oh and, also, Shin Jonghak.”

At this point in time, Yoo Yeonha could no longer feign indifference.
She asked, trying to conceal her interest.

“…Jonghak is here?”

“Yeah. I just got a call from Yun Seung-Ah, and he’s with Jin Sahyuk or whatever her name was.”

Jin Sahyuk. Those three syllables made her uneasy.
Yoo Yeonha turned her gaze to Kim Suho in silence. Likewise, Kim Suho had become stiff like a fish that had been left outside to dry for too long.

“…Kim Suho?”

Yoo Yeonha called Kim Suho.
Kim Suho, standing stiff, soon let out a sigh.

“Uh… what were they doing together? Jin Sahyuk and Shin Jonghak?”

“How should I know? But Seung-Ah said they were heading to the ‘Devil’s Castle’.”

Baal had built a fortress at the center of his barrier. Inside, Baal was currently gathering power to descend on Earth.

“Shouldn’t we head there as well?”

Kim Suho nodded at Aileen’s question.

“Yes. We only have two days left, after all. We should hurry.”

“Two days? How do you know it’s two days exactly?”

“The book said this world was destroyed three days after Baal’s descent, remember?”

The deadline was three days, but a day had already passed. The remaining time, therefore, was two days. It was too short a time, but they had to somehow stop Baal from destroying this world and also their home, Earth.

“For now, let’s hurry.”

Kim Suho took out a potion from his pocket and gulped it down. This might not be enough to relieve all the fatigue and wounds he had accumulated during the day, but he had no time to spare.

“Okay. Then, let’s go find Black Lotus and Jin Sahyuk first.”

With a smirk, Aileen grabbed Kim Suho’s hand. She immediately activated the skill [Teleport]. The whole world began shaking and Kim Suho closed his eyes. A moment later, when he opened them again, the Devil’s Castle was in front of him.
The shift was very sudden, but he had no time to panic.

“…Kim Suho?”

From somewhere rang a dry, disapproving voice.
Aileen and Kim Suho turned back, and to their surprise, the two people who had just been the subject of their conversation were there.

“…Aileen-ssi, your Teleport is shockingly accurate.”

“Y-Yeah?”

Kim Suho exclaimed in pure amazement, but Aileen only blinked rapidly and scratched the back of her neck. All this took her by surprise as well.

“Did you two follow us?”

Jin Sahyuk and Shin Jonghak. About ten steps away, the pair scowled at Kim Suho.

“Huh? No, we wouldn’t say we were….”

Kim Suho panicked for no reason. Were those two always so close? He remembered they didn’t get along very well in the past.

“Hmm… whatever. You should get ready, too.”

Jin Sahyuk said calmly, despite Kim Suho’s perplexity.

“…Get ready for what?” Aileen asked.

Jin Sahyuk scoffed, as if making fun of Aileen for asking such a silly question, then pointed to the Devil’s Castle in the distance.
What used to be the presidential residence was now Baal’s castle. Surrounded by demonic energy, it had become quite grotesque in appearance.

“That castle needs to come down.”

“…Huh? You?”

Kim Suho’s eyes widened to the extent that they almost bulged out.
The Jin Sahyuk he knew was not like this. Not long ago, she had declared she would destroy Earth if she couldn’t go back to her homeland.

“No.”

Jin Sahyuk shook her head with a cold smile.
‘Of course,’ thought Kim Suho. But then Jin Sahyuk’s next remark made him freeze.

“We’re doing it together.”

**

[Eastern Pandemonium]

Vassago built his Colosseum in what was once a city called Harbin. The land shared its border with Russia and boasted a view of the Korean Peninsula to the south.

The Colosseum, bearing the design of the Demon Realm, was large and magnificent enough to be seen from both Korea and Russia.
Because of this, the Colosseum had already become a symbol of terror for many. Today, however, a Hero arrived at the Colosseum purely of her own will.

“…It’s big.”

Master-rank Hero, Jin Seyeon the Divine Archer.
Having challenged Vassago, she looked around the Colosseum in a daze.

“Only those who lack skill care about appearance.”

It was then.
A heavy voice rang out just behind her. Jin Seyeon immediately withdrew her gaze from the Colosseum and turned around.

“It’s been a while, Archer.”

It was Cheok Jungyeong, as expected. His face broke into a broad grin. Jin Seyeon was glad to see him smile, though she wasn’t exactly sure why.
She smiled back at him softly.

“I didn’t know we were close enough to share such a greeting.”

“Who cares? We can get to know each other from now on.”

Cheok Jungyeong shrugged. Jin Seyeon nodded in agreement. Though she had no idea what would happen in this arena, she felt confident that Cheok Jungyeong would never betray her.

“Oh, right. You must know this since you’re a high-ranking Hero. Is it true that Orden is alive?”

Koong— koong— koong— Cheok Jungyeong walked barefoot and stood right next to Jin Seyeon. Their height difference was at least 40 centimeters. Jin Seyeon had to tilt her head back so much that her neck began to hurt.

“Well, if Orden is really alive, that would mean we’re really close to him right now.”

Jin Seyeon answered without much thought. A long walk east of the Colosseum would reach Vladivostok. Vladivostok was where the rumors about Orden originated from.
Cheok Jungyeong raised his eyebrows, dissatisfied by Jin Seyeon’s answer.

“That’s not what I asked. I asked if he’s alive.”

“The residents of Vladivostok seem to think so. They worship Orden.”

“…Worship?”

“Yes. According to them, it’s all thanks to Orden that they live in peace in Vladivostok, a city that had long been abandoned, without having to worry about monster invasions.”

“Huh… so it’s true that Orden’s been hunting monsters himself?”

“I’m not sure about that. It could be someone else, someone strong but also secretive, like Black Lotus.”

Jin Seyeon shrugged, and Cheok Jungyeong chuckled.

“Pft, alright, whatever. I didn’t come here for a chat anyway.”

“I agree.”

Cheok Jungyeong and Jin Seyeon stood side by side and stared at the arena in front of them. But these two weren’t the only ones who had their eyes on the Colosseum.
Many were observing it from afar, including the members of the Chameleon Troupe who had followed Cheok Jungyeong secretly, and Vast Expense, who was exuding his presence openly.
And so, Cheok Jungyeong stepped into the ring and took a deep breath.

He then yelled from the top of his lungs, “Oi, old man—!”

His voice shook the earth and the atmosphere.
Cheok Jungyeong called Vast Expense with overt enthusiasm.

“Aren’t you gonna come out-?!”

His cry echoed through the Colosseum.
But Vast Expense did not respond, only watching from afar.

“…Well, it’s pretty obvious what that greedy old man is after.”

Cheok Jungeyong muttered discontentedly.
Vast Expense’s reason for coming here was obvious as he said. Vassago had declared that he would reward the victor with whatever he wished. Vast Expense was probably planning to ask for ‘immortality’.

“Never mind those cowards. Let’s go first.”

Cheok Jungyeong tapped Jin Seyeon on the shoulder. Jin Seyeon, however, seemed a little hesitant as she looked around Cheok Jungyeong.
She was trying to locate Black Lotus but could not detect his presence anywhere nearby.

“…”

Was Cheok Jungyeong alone? Did Black Lotus enter the Demon Realm Gate as well?
Jin Seyeon concealed her disappointment and began walking.

“I guess you aren’t called Divine Archer for nothing. Bwahaha. Oh, by the way-”

Impressed by her boldness, Cheok Jungyeong beamed with satisfaction as he pulled out a card. Jin Seyeon looked at the card.
It was called [The Invitation Letter to the Love Room].

“What’s this…?”

“A card that allows me to summon one of my friends. I know who you’re looking for, so let’s get along from now on.”

“….”

To her surprise, he was more tactful than she thought. Though Jin Seyeon was embarrassed that he had read her mind, she soon gave a small smile and nodded.

“Good idea.”

It’s like the saying- the end justifies the means.

“Cool. Now, let’s go.”

“Yes, let’s.”

Together, Jin Seyeon and Cheok Jungyeong walked into the mouth of the devil ‘Vassago’ side by side.

**


[The Republic of Leores]

Airun and her knights began fighting monsters as soon as they entered the barrier. They wielded their swords to find and rescue the prince.
On the other hand, Jain and I left. Right now I didn’t have the strength to fight monsters. Just by breaking the barrier, I’d consumed most of my Stigma.

-Boss. Can you hear me?

The first thing I did was send Boss a message. But she didn’t reply for a long time.
‘Did something bad happen to her?’
Just as I began to worry, Boss’s voice flowed into my ears.

-…I hear you, Hajin.

Her voice was cracked and frail.
It was faintly trembling as if she had been crying all this time.

-Where are you?

-…Sorry. I’d like to be alone for a while.

I never imagined that Boss could sound so weak and pitiful. She refused my visit in a roundabout way.
I said with a small sigh.

-Okay. Then… rest well. But it’s just for today because I’ll come by tomorrow.

Boss whispered.

-…Thank you.

-Sure.

I dismissed Mental Transmission without further ado.
Boss seemed to be struggling, but at least she was safe. That’s all that mattered to me. As long as she was alive, we could fix things. We could heal.

…A sense of relief swept through me.
It was then.

“Oh, you’re here!”

Someone grabbed me by the neck. When I turned around, I saw Shimurin. With a big grin, Shimurin looked at Jain and me alternately.

“I see you’re with a woman disguised as a man today.”

“…Huh? Oh. Haha.”

Shimurin saw through Jain’s disguise at once. Jain stepped back in surprise.

“Why are you here, Shimurin-ssi?”

“Why do you think? I also have some questions for him over there.”

With a surprisingly solemn expression, Shimurin pointed at the Devil’s Castle at the center of the barrier.

“I believe he possesses an essential knowledge of dimensional migration.”

“…Ah.”

Once again, Shimurin’s instinct was correct. Baal had confidently stated that he could send Jin Sahyuk back to her native dimension.

-Hey. Are you also inside the barrier?

At that moment, Chae Nayun’s voice flowed into my ears through Infinite Communication.
Her voice sounded clear, which meant she was not far from here.

“What…”

I opened my eyes wide and looked around.
It was then that I realized what situation I was in.
Yun Seung-Ah, Chae Nayun, Kim Youngjin, Yohei, Kim Horak, Yi Youngjin, Airun and her knights, the Republic’s aristocratic knights, and even civilians armed with shabby swords and sickles.
Everyone was fighting Baal’s monsters fiercely.

“…”

I looked at Jain, then at Shimurin. Both were smiling mischievously. Jain whispered to me.

‘We have a lot of time.’

-Okay, listen. If you’re here, you need to help us out. You’re good at this kind of fight. There’s just too many of them. It’s endless….

At that moment, I heard Chae Nayun’s nervous voice again.
I smiled and put my bow back in Stigma. Then I pulled out the Desert Eagle.

“Well then.”

I had plenty of bullets on me, including the Basilisk’s bullets.
I transformed the Desert Eagle into a heavy machine gun.
Kiik- kiik- The sound of machine parts colliding rang out.
The Desert Eagle became a machine gun the size of a cannonball, with its muzzle pointed to the sky.
It had been quite a while since I last let the Desert Eagle take the form of a machine gun. Perhaps due to my growth, the gun looked much more intimidating now than before.
The bullets fired from a gun of this size would be as powerful as a bomb that could blow up anything.

“We’ll talk after we take care of this.”

But before pulling the trigger, I first sent a message to Chae Nayun.

-It’s me who’s shooting now.

A sentence as simple as that.
Then I quickly pulled the trigger.

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