[Shin Jonghak’s Mind]
Jin Sahyuk didn’t exactly enjoy watching two grown men crying in each other’s arms. Still, she decided not to interfere, for she didn’t want to cause any trouble. She didn’t want to risk losing her chance of obtaining Shin Myungchul’s ‘legacy’, whatever it was.
As Jin Sahyuk watched Shin Jonghak wail like a pig, she wondered to herself why all of a sudden he had become a cry baby.
Jin Sahyuk crossed her arms and waited for the two to calm down.
—…It’s time for me to go.
When Shin Myungchul finally announced so, Jin Sahyuk let out a sigh of relief. Shin Jonghak shook his head like a baby, but Shin Myungchul was resolute.
The truth was that even if he wanted to stay, he couldn’t. Shin Myungchul’s soul was already starting to fade.
When Shin Jonghak saw his grandfather’s legs become dust and scatter, he lowered his head, sobbing.
—Jonghak. Look at me.
Shin Myungchul, however, did not seem to fear death. Clearly concerned about his grandson more than himself, Shin Myungchul gave Shin Jonghak a warm smile.
—Think about all the things you’re going to do as a Hero.
Shin Jonghak raised his head and tried to smile. But it wasn’t as easy as he hoped it to be. His face became distorted by tears and forced a smile.
When Jin Sahyuk saw Shin Jonghak’s face, she quickly covered her mouth with her hands. She had almost burst into laughter by its resemblance to a squid.
Shin Myungchul stroked his grandson’s head. All along, Shin Jonghak kept his eyes on his grandfather, trying to remember this moment forever.
—Take care. I’ll always believe in you.
And those were his last words. Shin Myungchul’s body turned to dust and scattered. The dust danced in the air for a few seconds before seeping into Shin Jonghak’s body.
Shin Jonghak closed his eyes, feeling a certain ‘power’ sink into him.
“Are you done?” Jin Sahyuk asked.
But there was no reply from Shin Jonghak. He only stood still, breathing in and out repeatedly, feeling the power of the legacy he had received from Shin Myungchul.
Jin Sahyuk watched Shin Jonghak for a while and quietly disabled her Authority.
The sound of cardboard breaking rang out. Slowly, Shin Jonghak’s mind started to disappear.
Watching his mind collapse, Shin Jonghak slowly turned to Jin Sahyuk.
And he said, “Thank you.”
This took Jin Sahyuk by surprise. She wasn’t exactly used to being thanked, nor had she ever imagined she would hear it from Shin Jonghak.
Jin Sahyuk shrugged.
“Don’t get me wrong. It’s not like I did this for you.”
“Then, what’s your goal?”
“…That’s none of your business.”
Soon the darkness dissipated, and the two of them returned to the normal world. Shin Jonghak and Jin Sahyuk quickly exchanged glances. They then took a step forward at the same time.
Their destination was, of course, the battlefield where Baal was.
Shin Jonghak wanted to correct his grandfather’s mistake, and Jin Sahyuk wanted to carry out a certain ‘plan’ of hers.
Fortunately, they didn’t have to travel far.
Demonic energy swayed in the distance.
When Jin Sahyuk noticed it….
Baal’s demonic energy raged like a storm. It drove the entire world into darkness. The sky, the earth, and everything in between were captured by Baal, including Jin Sahyuk and Shin Jonghak.
They were now inside a giant dome of demonic energy, filled with ominous stillness.
“…Looks like we’re inside Baal’s barrier.” Shin Jonghak concluded.
Jin Sahyuk raised her eyebrows.
“This ‘legacy’ thing must really be something. It’s rare for an idiot like you to notice this fast.”
Shin Jonghak growled at Jin Sahyuk and began running towards the source of the demonic energy. Jin Sahyuk dashed after him.
The two quickly reached the center of the barrier.
There, Baal had revealed his true form.
“Woah…. What the hell?” Jin Sahyuk exclaimed in shock. The other Heroes gathered reacted similarly.
Baal’s body had turned fluid-like. He could have been a sophisticated hologram or even a ghost. Whatever he was, he definitely did not look like a human. Right now, Baal looked more like a dragon than a devil.
While observing Baal, Jin Sahyuk discovered a familiar face in the crowd. She immediately doubted her eyes.
He couldn’t possibly be here. He couldn’t possibly ‘exist’.
Jin Sahyuk widened her eyes in astonishment.
“Bell…?” She muttered.
The man she had killed—Bell—was alive.
He was standing before her very eyes.
Jin Sahyuk stood in a complete daze, and Bell, having heard her call his name, turned his gaze to Jin Sahyuk. And then, he smiled.
Bell’s lips began to move.
“Hey my ass…!”
Jin Sahyuk wanted to run to him right away.
Baal howled. He, now in the true form of the Evil God, filled the entire barrier with demonic energy with only a single cry.
“Jin Sahyuk, you wait here.”
Shin Jonghak stepped forward. Still in a state of shock, Jin Sahyuk watched Shin Jonghak move with vacant eyes.
Shin Jonghak misunderstood that she was overwhelmed by Baal and gave a small smile.
“Don’t worry. This is something that I have to do.”
He announced heroically and grabbed the Conqueror Spear.
“And it’s also something that only I can do.”
Shin Jonghak’s magic power engulfed the Conqueror Spear.
His energy had become much denser than before.
“You stay in the back. No wait, you should help others evacuate.”
Shin Jonghak’s words slowly returned Jin Sahyuk back to her senses. She blinked a few times and finally opened her mouth.
“Who do you think you are?”
The two began glaring at each other again.
This time, another Hero approached the pair.
“Jin Sahyuk? Shin Jonghak?”
The pair simultaneously turned to the voice calling their names.
“I didn’t expect you two to be together…. So you got caught up in this, too.”
The owner of the familiar voice was Kim Suho. Jin Sahyuk turned her gaze to Kim Suho, then to Chae Nayun standing next to him.
‘Damn it. She was the last person I wanted to see….’ Jin Sahyuk frowned.
It was then.
Suddenly a woman engulfed in azure flames burst onto the scene.
“Hmm? Kim Suho? And… Knight Commander Shin Jahyuk, you too?”
That woman—Tomer—noticed Kim Suho and the others and paused.
…Far from the battlefield, I was observing Baal. He probably didn’t realize that I was here, for I had masked parts of his barrier with my Stigma.
About 30-square-meters of the barrier had become mine and this area was free from Baal’s influence. Even Baal in his transcendent form couldn’t detect me as long as I was here.
First I switched Desert Eagle to sniper mode. Clunk— Kiik— Kiik— The familiar sound of machinery rang out. The gun merged with Aether and became as big as a human.
Then I settled into an appropriate position and loaded the Misteltein Bullet into the gun….
It was then that something touched my shoulder.
Even Aether failed to detect the mysterious presence.
I felt my blood boil and my hair begin to stand on end.
But I had no time to panic. I must respond quickly to surprise attacks. I surrounded myself in Aether and looked back…!
“Ugh. You really got me there.”
…The person behind me was Boss. I saw the tip of her lips tremble. It was clear she was enjoying my reaction.
I looked at her discontentedly, and Boss shrugged.
“I did nothing. You misunderstood on your own.”
“Whatever. How did you get here?”
Slowly, Spartan walked out from behind Boss.
Boss wasn’t the only person he had brought here.
“So where exactly are we, Hajin~?”
Jain, Jin Yohan, and Hirano Arashi were here as well. Jain was holding a woman in her arms who had fainted. Though her disheveled hair covered most of her face, I could tell without difficulty that this woman was Yoo Yeonha.
“Did every member of the Chameleon Troupe get caught up in this barrier?”
“Nope. Just me, Boss, Jin Yohan, and Arashi. Others are outside.”
“Mm… and her?”
I pointed at Yoo Yeonha, and Jain raised Yoo Yeonha above her head with a playful smirk.
“She passed out, as you can see. I might have gone too far with my prank~ Anyways, Hajin, you should check your smartwatch! This girl here sent you a very very long text~”
“Yup~ It’s super long~”
I took out my smartwatch as Jain had suggested. Indeed, I had received a text from Yoo Yeonha. It was so long that, at a glance, it almost seemed like a novel.
I opened the message and tried to read it.
Suddenly, the sound of footsteps rang out. I raised my head, and Boss, who had been looking at my smartwatch with me, did the same. We were all looking in the same direction now.
And immediately, a cold silence set in.
A soft voice called Boss’s name through the icy silence.
Yi Yeonjun was there.
[Korea — Gaesung]
Baal had captured Korea’s border area in his barrier. But right now, Cheok Jungyeong was far from the border.
He had been observing a city by the name of ‘Gaesung’, currently being destroyed by demons.
This city used to be the heart of Goryeo.
Cheok Jungyeong felt a strange sensation in his stomach as if a lump of heated mass had been thrown in there. He didn’t care much about the people of the present era, but it felt weird to watch demons ravage his hometown.
Chweeek— Chweeek— Chweeek—
Next to him, the sound of a bow being tugged continued to ring out. Cheok Jungyeong glanced sideways. Jin Seyeon was firing dozens of arrows per second, annihilating demons.
On the contrary, Cheok Jungeyong crossed his arms and didn’t move an inch. He was still sorting through his feelings.
He had heard that Baal was in northern Korea. Fighting Baal sounded more fun than anything.
But Cheok Jungyeong came here as soon as he found out that Gaesung was under attack. His legs moved on their own. Cheok Jungyeong couldn’t understand why.
“How long are you going to just stand there?”
Jin Seyeon finally asked.
When Cheok Jungyeong refused to answer, she yelled.
“Stop watching and help me out!”
Cheok Jungyeong looked at Jin Seyeon with cold eyes. Any other person would have averted their gaze, but Jin Seyeon did not turn away.
Cheok Jungyeong asked quietly. “There’s about 100000 of them, no?”
Jin Seyeon replied brusquely, glancing at her smartwatch. “100000? You wish. The official approximation is 500000.”
“Yeah? Then I guess… we can use her.”
“You’ll see. I don’t even have to go out there.”
Cheok Jungyeong gave a chuckle. Then he began muttering to himself.
“Droon, you see what’s going on here?”
—Yeah. But before that, it looks like Boss and the others got dragged into Baal’s barrier.
Droon’s voice seeped into Cheok Jungyeong’s ears.
“Doesn’t matter. Boss knows how to take care of herself. So, are you ready?”
—Mm…. How many?
—500000…. We’ll be cutting it pretty close. Though, the worst that could happen is that we lose a city.
“Just do it.” Cheok Jungyeong pressed.
Their conversation ended there. Jin Seyeon was about to ask Cheok Jungyeong what that was all about.
But before she even finished her sentence, something descended from above.
What fell from the atmosphere to the ground like a meteorite was a strange-looking creature.
Jin Seyeon asked in bewilderment, “What is that?”
“…500000 is too many for you and me to handle alone. Don’t expect me to cut off 500000 heads.”
Cheok Jungeyong turned his gaze to ‘it’— Mimyo.
Its skin was black, its eyes were shining crimson, and a pair of long ears rose above its head. From afar, it looked just like a hare, but its existence wasn’t so simple.
Mimyo was a creature from a foreign dimension, an existence that did not belong in this world.
“That doesn’t answer my question. So, what is it?”
“Chameleon Troupe’s ultimate weapon. I’m seeing it for the first time in a long time, too.”
Mimyo opened its mouth, a pair of sharp fangs gleaming inside.
Mimyo extended its claws, each as long as a baseball bat.
“That’s right. It can’t and shouldn’t be used recklessly.”
A monster that even Cheok Jungyeong couldn’t handle at will.
Having understood the warning, she asked carefully. “…May I ask you why?”
“Because when it goes berserk, it can’t be stopped until it’s fully satisfied.”
All the while, Cheok Jungyeong’s gaze was locked onto Mimyo. Jin Seyeon also turned to the monster.
It was then.
Mimyo dashed onto the battlefield.
Indeed, as Cheok Jungyeong said, its speed couldn’t be matched with the naked eye. Mimyo rushed at demons with its mouth wide open. The demons in its path were all sucked into its mouth.
Jin Seyeon’s brain couldn’t process what she saw. The scene before her eyes was simply abnormal. Jin Seyeon’s jaw dropped and she became speechless.
Cheok Jungyeong said with a smirk. “500000 should be enough to satisfy it.”
Dazed, Jin Seyeon was suddenly overcome with fear. She gulped and asked back.
“…What happens if it’s not satisfied?”
“Well. It’ll eat everything and everyone until it’s full, Hero or human.”
Such was the reason they couldn’t use Mimyo recklessly. When Mimyo went wild, even its owner, Droon, couldn’t keep it under control.
Once stimulated, Mimyo only stopped when it was satisfied. Therefore, the Chameleon Troupe only used it during large scale fights.
The other day, Mimyo had almost destroyed an entire city.
“This is how we handle things. If you don’t like our way, leave.”
Jin Seyeon tried to protest, but Cheok Jungyeong cut her off. Jin Seyeon closed her mouth with a frown. By now, it was clear even to her that Mimyo was their best means of saving Gaesung.
“I’d like to evacuate the Heroes and civilians first.”
“Do as you wish. We’ve ordered Mimyo to attack only demons, but there’s a good chance that humans will get swept away, too.”
Jin Seyeon nodded and ordered the Heroes of Gaesung to retreat.
[This is a message from the Master-rank Hero Jin Seyeon. Heroes of Gaesung, please stop fighting and focus on evacuating civilians. This is an order. Save as many people as you can.]
After giving out the order, Jin Seyeon put her bow down and turned her gaze to Mimyo.
She saw Mimyo devouring demons.
It tore with its claws and teeth and chewed with its mouth.
Tear, chew. Mimyo was repeating that simple procedure. That was all it had to do.
Each time Mimyo swung its front paw, demons were torn to shreds, and each time Mimyo opened its mouth, their heads disappeared.
The demons’ attacks, on the other hand, had no effect on Mimyo. The creature continued to eat, digest, eat, digest. Over and over again, until her endless hunger was satisfied.
Mimyo was so ruthless that Jin Seyeon almost pitied the demons.
Feeling dazed, Jin Seyeon continued watching the scene of the massacre.