Chapter 72

‘Huh?’

As he continued to kill off the assassins who dared to attack him, Zich noticed something was strange.

‘Their atmosphere changed again.’

A calm atmosphere enveloped the assassins. They looked like monks who knew they were going to die soon and fully accepted their fate. So far, the assassins had never shown signs of being afraid of death, but now they looked as if death was imminent for them. 

‘He must be the reason.’

Zich stared at Clovey who was a few feet away from him. He thought Clovey had gulped down a potion, but Zich had judged wrong.

“Kuaaaaaaa!” Clovey let out a scream. He pierced his own body and squirmed in pain.

“That’s why you don’t eat random food off the ground.”

Zich clicked his tongue in an exaggerated way. However, while he was fighting off the assassins, Zich’s eyes never left Clovey.

Crack!

Clovey’s skin shook like ocean waves; his armor crumpled, and his muscles swelled up to enormous proportions. As his body increased, his lower body also exponentially increased.

“Roaaaar!” Clovey’s screams changed to roars in the middle; his voice no longer sounded human. Now one head taller than his original state, Clovey looked down at Zich. His black eyes indicated that he was no longer sane.

“What!”

“T-that—!”

Hans and Snoc were shocked by Clovey’s transformation. Zich raised his alert level one step higher; but surprisingly, Zich was delighted. Zich had seen Clovey’s transformation before, and he was familiar with its appearance.

‘It’s Fest!’

Now, Zich knew for sure. Even though he didn’t know who Fest was, Zich was now confident that he met Fest at least once in his pre-regression days. No, to be more precise, Zich and his subordinates had coincidentally visited a place where Fest had spread infectious diseases. Like Snoc and Hans, Zich and his subordinates had been eagerly anticipating arriving in a city after a long journey to eat lots of delicious food and sleep in a warm bed, but the city they arrived in was decimated by epidemics. 

Since Fest’s notoriety was at its peak, Zich and his subordinates knew about Fest’s existence from the very beginning and were furious at Fest for hampering their plans. They looked all over the city for Fest but could not find any trace of Fest’s whereabouts. However, it seemed as if Fest was also annoyed by Zich and his companions since Fest sent assassins to bombard them. And during this time, one of the assassins showed the same characteristics as Clovey. 

Fortunately, Zich and his subordinates were able to destroy the whole city, along with Fest’s underlings. However, even till the end, Zich hadn’t been able to figure out the source of the assassin’s transformation. Since Fest was involved, the transformation was probably related to a disease, but Zich had never heard of or seen a disease that completely transformed a person’s body. But because of how unknown it was, Zich was sure that Fest was involved.

Even though Zich was happy at discovering this information, he was still in the midst of battle.

‘It’s getting dangerous.’

Zich accepted his situation easily.

“Kuaaaaaaah!” Clovey screamed and jumped towards Zich. Even though he was much larger now, his speed also increased.

“Argh!”

“Ugh!”

‘No wonder those guys acted like they were about to die.’

Clovey was no longer able to differentiate between friend and foe; he attacked everyone that was between his path to Zich.

‘In my past life, I remember they at least had the ability to differentiate their targets.’

It seemed as if the transformation had evolved over time. While Clovey was running berserk, the assassins merely moved a bit away from Clovey and continued to attack Zich. Their will to kill Zich was so strong that they were willing to sacrifice themselves.

‘Should I change locations first?’

If they continued to fight here, there was a high possibility that the whole temple would collapse on them. Then all the villagers inside the temple would die. Fortunately, Clovey senselessly followed Zich, and he was able to bring Clovey out to the middle of the village with relative ease.

Slam!

Clovey appeared right in front of Zich. It was as if a heavy stone had landed in front of him, and Clovey began to wield his sword with great force.

‘This is why these guys are so bothersome.’

Even though Clovey looked like an ogre on the outside, he still possessed all his skills. Compared to his body, the sword he wielded looked like a wooden stick, and with proficient skill, Clovey moved his sword as naturally as flowing water.

Crash! Crash! Craash!

They exchanged multiple blows. Zich winced as his hands became sore. Clovey’s strength and speed had increased exponentially. Even though Clovey’s skills dropped noticeably after his transformation, his new strength and speed more than made up for it. 

Crash!

Moreover, the assassins continuously threw daggers at Zich and distracted him.

“Roar!”

Clovey thrust his hand down with his free hand. Zich evaded the attack by a hair’s breadth. 

Slam!

The force of Clovey’s hand made a deep indentation on the ground. Zich wielded his sword between the openings in Clovey’s defense.

Crash!

Even though Zich slammed his sword on Clovey’s skin, it sounded as if he was hitting metal. Zich could even pierce through metal with his mana, but there was not even a scratch on Clovey’s skin. 

“Ha!”

Even though Clovey was in berserk mode, it seemed as if he had enough sense to make a mocking smirk at Zich’s attack. With both of his lips pressed upwards, Clovey moved for another attack at Zich.

‘As expected.’

Even though Zich’s attacks failed, he wasn’t very disappointed because he had expected that to happen.

‘Judging by how much mana he has, my Mana Resonance won’t work.’

The amount of mana that flowed out of Clovey was as great as a tidal wave, and Zich was surprised that the mana didn’t tear apart Clovey’s whole body. With the amount of mana Clovey currently had, Zich couldn’t use Mana Resonance against him. 

‘I guess I can’t help it. I have to strain myself a bit.’

Zich checked his mana. The amount of mana he had was much greater than the amount he had at the Iruce mine.

‘Now it looks like I have some mana.’

The amount of mana Zich currently had was the same as a high-level knight in an estate with enormous military power. It was not a small amount—no, by normal standards, Zich had a huge amount of mana; but compared to his Demon Lord days when his mana was comparable to a dragon’s mana, the amount he had right now was barely passable for him. 

On the other hand, the amount of mana he had was not enough to defeat Clovey. But if he combined all his skills, it would be a totally different situation.

Zich used the ‘Extension of the Senses’ technique to extend his senses to the tip of his sword and make the weapon part of his body. And through Mana Resonance, he gained control of the surrounding mana. But unlike last time, he didn’t take control of his opponent’s mana but nature’s mana that flowed around him.

Overall, it was more difficult to control unprocessed mana from nature than a processed one like a human’s. But with Zich’s advanced mana manipulation skills, it was possible. While fighting Clovey, Zich concentrated on his skill. Even for Zich, this skill required a great amount of concentration, so he let many attacks hit his body and acquired scratches all over his body.

It appeared as if he was being cornered, but Zich’s eyes were calm. An immense amount of mana concentrated into the ends of his sword. It flared like a wild horse about to run out at any moment, but Zich carefully reined it in. Using the resonance from the mana, he connected the mana at the tip of his sword into the natural mana around him like inserting a thread into a needle.

Of course, he didn’t connect it elaborately, and the connection was more like layering the mana over each other. However, nature’s mana could handle the rest. Zich rolled his feet once and distanced himself from Clovey’s attacks. Because of this movement, Clovey seemed to have judged that Zich was running away, so he dashed forward while shrieking.

The assassins also collaborated together. Some of them tried to block Zich’s paths of escape, and some of them moved away from Clovey to attack Zich from a distance.

‘Ah, these assassins can use their heads too.’

There was already a significant number of assassins who had died under Clovey’s hands, but the assassins continued to participate in the battle.

‘But it’s commendable that they didn’t run away.’

Zich didn’t have to expend his energy chasing those guys. Zich extended his sword out and took a stance to pierce his enemy. Without hesitation, he aimed for Clovey. With the skill, Piercing Space, he shot out the immense amount of mana concentrated at the tip of his sword.

Whoosh!

Without form and sound, the attack’s force pierced through space. The formless force spun forward and exploded on Clovey. Feeling the danger, Clovey tried to escape, but the force was faster.

Pierce!

Even Clovey’s hardened skin couldn’t block this attack. On Clovey’s chest, a hole the size of a finger formed.

“Ugh!” Clovey let out a groan, and blood spurted out from his wound. But that was it. Clovey smiled at Zich like he was saying that Zich couldn’t stop him with just that. Yet, Zich was also aware of that.

‘I’ve experienced this before.’

Pop!

The surrounding mana began to move; they were all flurrying around to squeeze inside the small path that Zich’s attack had passed through. It was the effect of the ‘structure’ that he had placed in with nature's mana. All the mana in the area shot forward, resonating with Zich’s mana and the mana that was scattered all over their surroundings. Then, it began to spin.

Claaaaash!

There was a gigantic current. The mana spun wildly and began to reduce its surroundings into dust. It began to destroy everything—the building and assassins near it, including Clovey in the center—and flipped the ground below them upside down. It was a giant whirlwind.

“Ahh!”

“Argh!”

Assassins near Clovey screamed. They got mixed into the whirlwind, and their bodies became mutilated in mid-air. They couldn’t hold in their screams as their bodies got ripped apart alive.

“Kuuuuuu!”

At the center of the whirlwind, Clovey withstood it with his hardened physical body, mana, and experience. However, that didn’t last long. Mana poured into the areas of his body where there were holes, and the whirlwind hammered the surface of his skin. Cracks appeared all over his body, and blood seeped out.

“Ahhhhh!”

Pop!

Like a dam that had reached its limit, Clovey’s body broke into pieces with a loud death cry. The whirlwind continued for a while as if it couldn’t be satisfied until it destroyed everything within its sphere of influence. When the whirlwind finally died down, they saw that most of the village had been completely devastated.

It was difficult to believe that the mass destruction was the work of a human. The whirlwind had been such a destructive force that Hans, Snoc, and the assassins stopped their battles for a moment to stare. Yet, the one who actually caused that destruction snorted like it was nothing.

‘To think that it only made this much of an effect.’

He had expected this “minimal” effect to a certain degree, but it was different seeing it in reality. ‘Piercing Spiral Blast’—it was a bit of a childish title, but it was a technique that he used while transitioning from being a Demon Person to having the title, Demon Lord. In a way, it wasn’t an exaggeration to say that the skill was one of the many that had given Zich his notorious title.

Gurgle!

A metallic taste rose from his throat.

‘Wow! What is up with all these issues?’

Zich spat out a lump of blood.

‘My internal organs suffered injuries from just this?’

He was talking about himself, but he thought his body’s condition was pathetic.

“Sir Zich!” Hans called out in an urgent voice. Zich glanced around and saw a group of assassins charging forward. The assassins had been cowering from behind just a moment ago, but it seemed like they had gathered up their courage once again.

‘It’s probably because I spat out some blood.’

They now thought Zich was an easier opponent, but the price for a hasty judgment was death. Zich fixed his grip on his sword. Frankly, Zich’s condition wasn’t good. Even a potion didn’t immediately heal internal wounds, especially ones inflicted by mana.

‘But they are all just small fry.”

Zich blocked the dagger that flew towards him and sliced the nearest assassin. A while later, all who gazed at Zich could see him taking his sweet time wiping the blood off his sword next to a pile of assassins in a pool of blood.

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