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Chapter 98-99 – Grand Duke Okullos
I started to get a headache. Several situations had twisted together. It seemed like I wouldn’t be able to easily solve this. I glanced towards Okullos and the dukes.
A quandary. The Cruel Commander really made everything become tangled up. The Cruel Commander and his corps who called me ‘Master!’ I somehow gained the qualifications to cut off the Cruel Commander’s head here. I didn’t know why he referred to me as the Emperor. But.
I caught those words. This guy obviously knew about the Heart of the h.e.l.l Monarch. The Heart of the h.e.l.l Monarch played an important role in raising my intelligence. Even so, he said that it had yet to fully awaken.
If awakened properly then my problem could be solved. The problem of how to get out of this crisis…
I immediately looked with Mind’s Eye.Name: Cruel Commander Maxium Occupation Emperor’s Knight t.i.tle * No Decay (U, Strength +6)
* Steadfast (U, Stamina +6)
* Undead Commander (Ex U, Agility and Intelligence +4)Stats Strength 85 (+6) Intelligence 82 (+4) Agility 81 (+4) Stamina 88 (+6) Magic Power 74 Potential: (410+20/410)
Uniqueness: A faithful knight defending the treasure trove for tens of thousands of years.
Skill: l.u.s.trous Golden Sword (Epic), Cruel Leadership (Epic)[Relative Comparison]
Strength 95 Intelligence 77 Agility 90 Stamina 85 Magic 96 Potential (392+51/500)
Cruel Commander Maxium
Strength 91 Intelligence 86 Agility 85 Stamina 94 Magic 74 Potential (410+20/410)
It was considerable. He reached all his potential and even got 430 points. He had as much as 3 t.i.tles. And there were two epic grade skills.
‘There is no growth potential so he is in an almost finished form.’
This was enough for a high cla.s.s creature. A little stronger than the griffin or Gigantes.
The skeleton soldiers around were also usable. The regular soldiers were intermediate level while the knights reached advanced. Greed emerged.
Nevertheless, it was too early to have Okullos as an enemy. I was wearing a mask but…that wouldn’t be able to fool a grand duke’s keen eyes.
Then Cruel Commander Maxium said to me.
“Your Majesty. The new Maxium will help you by sweeping away the dirty demons and creatures. After a long time, I finally have the privilege of fighting on the battlefield with you.”
His eyes shone. It was filled with expectations.
But my eyes were still looking at Okullos. He was slowly moving towards me with the dukes.
‘I don’t know what to do.’
Overall I was weak.
Maxium’s army was decreased. His numbers were similar to the creatures. In qualitative aspects, I was slightly lacking. I had a chance of winning if I faced the grand duke and dukes. But one direct hit might reveal my ident.i.ty.
However, my concerns were surprisingly useless.
Okullos said to me.
I really couldn’t deceive a grand duke? I was able to outsmart the marquis and earls gathered in front of South Korea’s dungeon. Even Tashmal was unsure but Grand Duke Okullos was certain as soon as he saw me.
To make matters worse.
‘It is bittersweet.’
I inwardly sighed. It was already exposed. I took off the mask. And I pulled out Wrath.
‘First, reveal my strength. I need to do a lot of damage.’
Tilt the balance of power fully onto my side. If there was an all-out war with Okullos then the damage would be very serious. So it was best if I took action before Okullos.
I organized my thoughts and opened my mouth.
“Maxium. Follow me.”
“New Maxium, I will show my constant loyalty to Your Majesty.”
He knelt down as his body trembled. It was the same for the other skeleton soldiers. Their appearance seemed like they were having an epileptic seizure.
Despite having the chance of freedom, they never seized it.
Loyalty. Despite the fact that my ‘memories were incomplete,’ Maxium didn’t care. First he would deal with this situation before worrying about the awakening. In the future. It would naturally open.
The skeleton soldiers quickly drew back.
Wrath was surrounded by darkness.
“Paranormal.”-One of the five blessings of Paranormal, ‘all stats +2’ for an hour has been applied.
It was the first time I received a useful blessing. Did it depend on the chances of victory?
Anyway, it was good news.
The griffin flew in the sky while the spartoi, lich and saber tigers followed closely.
He was standing right next to me.
“Your Majesty. Do you need a mount? I will dedicate myself.”
“There is no need.”
I would show my worth with my own two feet. I had no need for a mount.
I quietly watched the front. Okullos and the other demons were advancing.
‘They won’t let me pa.s.s.’
I needed to hit them without fail.
Tsk, things had been so twisted.
I lifted Wrath and said.
“Follow me. Annihilate the enemy.”
A large step forward. All the troops moved forward at the signal.
Twin head ogres. An advanced 4Lv creature that was a variant of the normal ogres. 3 twin head ogres hacked away at the skeletons.
The advanced 5Lv creatures that could use self-destruct. They were only 1 metre in size but tens of thousands of them self-destructing would cause huge damage.
Creatures that weren’t sold in the Store of All Things. It also didn’t appear at the Demon World Auction. A creature obtained through special events. They were creatures that needed to be disposed of but I had to handle something else first.
Okullos’ skill ‘Nature’s Punishment’ had emerged from the ground. A huge, green stalk popped out in front of me. Next, the other three dukes hindered my movements.
‘It isn’t easy to face the four of them.’
In my previous life, I would not have been able to handle a duke properly. But now I was strong. Stronger. I would be able to confront the four of them. This situation was a problem but I should be able to beat at least one opponent.
“This guy! Let’s see you avoid being damaged by this!”
I hurriedly twisted my body to avoid an attack.
Duke Karqui. One of Okullos’ three thugs and a demon famous for his ‘Light Spray.’ But thanks to Paranormal, my agility had reached 92. My senses were always active. I moved as I detected the attack.
But my goal wasn’t Karqui.
Okullos. He was the only one I was running towards.
There was persistent interference but I almost reached him. I looked at Okullos and opened Mind’s Eye.Name: Okullos Occupation Demon Grand Duke (Dungeon Master) t.i.tle * One Who Deals With Nature (Epic, Intelligence +4, Magic Power +7)
* Master of the Largest Forest Olmot (Epic, All stats + 3)Stats Strength 73 (+3) Intelligence 85 (+7) Agility 83 (+3) Stamina 73 (+3) Magic Power 87 (+11) Potential: (401+26/500)
Uniqueness: The heartbeat of the forest can be heard. The only demon to deal with nature.
Skill: Nature’s Punishment (Epic), Naturalization (Epic), Pending Question (U)[Relative Comparison]
Strength 97 Intelligence 79 Agility 92 Stamina 87 Magic 98 Potential (392+61/500)
(All stats +2 due to Paranormal)
Strength 76 Intelligence 92 Agility 86 Stamina 76 Magic 98 Potential (401+26/500)
He wasn’t a grand duke for nothing. High stats.
The dukes also had stats close to 400. This was their pure abilities without the help of items like me. If I stayed stagnant then they would have caught up with me in a year or two. This would be tight. I had no intention of going easy on them since they knew my ident.i.ty. Right now, I was in a position where I was their ‘enemy.’
Nature’s Punishment. I sliced the giant, green stalk. The magic power was similar so the attack worked well. But that also applied to me. There was a need to be as careful as possible. I maintained a distance of 200m from Okullos. It was a distance I could cross in one jump.
It had taken me 40 minutes to reach this location.
At that moment, Okullos’ cool eyes fell on my body.-Pending Question (U) has been triggered.
It is looking for Randalph Brigsiel’s weakness.
Mind’s Eye (Ex U) has successfully detected it. Defended against 70%.-Intelligence calibration!
But the opponent’s magic power is too high. Defended against 81%.
Defense against Pending Question (U) has succeeded.
I started frowning. Grand Duke Ariel also had a mental skill. Okullos’ Pending Question seemed to be something similar. The difference was that it was looking for a weak point instead of dominating the opponent.
‘It would have affected me if it wasn’t for Mind’s Eye.’
I wasn’t sure what my weaknesses were but Pending Question would have found it. Anyway, the presence of Mind’s Eye was quite helpful.
Okullos’ face twitched slightly. A surprised expression.
I leapt forward with Wrath.
I cut something. But it wasn’t Okullos. Countless branches had emerged from Okullos’ body. They were blocking Wrath.
Okullos gave a slight smile.
I pointed Wrath at him.
“You managed to recognize me.”
“Yes, you are quite interesting.”
The words reached the Cruel Commander and his army. I just laughed.
“I’m glad that you find me interesting.”
“Huhu. Interesting, interesting. I have been keeping an eye on you since the beginning. Ever since you challenged us in the Demon World. I think you have grown into a really interesting person.”
I was at a loss for words.
Certainly, I had once challenged the grand dukes
Ariel broke me and I was never Upa’s opponent. Pandemonium? He thoroughly enjoyed torturing me. Okullos had looked at me with an unknown expression and cut off my arm. But I didn’t think any of them had remembered me. Ariel and Pandemonium treated me like it was the first time we met. It was natural for Upa not to know me since we never met in the Demon World.
I closed my mouth. I clenched my fists with rage. I never thought anyone would remember me but this guy had just brought up my past.
Mysterious. A really weird feeling that was hard to describe in words. Joy, bliss? There were no such things. I didn’t know how to explain this anger and annoyance.
That’s right. It was really unlucky. Okullos’ expression subtly changed. But underneath was a mixture of ‘interesting.’
“I remember the first time you walked into the centre of my forest.”
Ah…that made sense.
The enormous Olmot Forest. Okullos was the master.
It had taken me 1 year to find and challenge him. Now I would never do that again. That 1 year hadn’t been for nothing. I still had bad luck. I frowned as I recalled that time.
“I found you interesting so I didn’t cut your throat.”
Then he sent me a chilly gaze. The three dukes were ready to jump at me at any time. Dark Sword was pointed at Okullos so it wasn’t easy for them to recklessly jump in.
“Certainly you seem to have grown…somehow you seem to have some knowledge. I am curious about the secret behind your strength and the high cla.s.s creatures.”
Okullos didn’t lose his leisurely air. First, there were three dukes surrounding them. He also had faith in his skills. He had the upper hand in the situation. There was no need for him to be impatient. In addition, he was ‘confident’ that he could catch me at any time.
Okullos turned and looked at Maxium.
“I will punish the undead that attacked the dungeon of my demons. You can leave if the Cruel Commander is left behind.”
“That isn’t possible.”
Leaving him behind wasn’t a big thing. But the Cruel Commander knew something about the heart’s awakening. Additionally, I didn’t like leaving any of my property behind.
An opponent acting free and confident towards me was unacceptable. My primary goal was to create tension among the grand dukes and win the throne. I couldn’t show weakness in our first encounter. I lightly chanted.
“Wrath.”-High magic power (98) has caused strength, agility and stamina to rise by 9.
Intelligence has dropped by 20 but your original pure intelligence is more than 76. Due to the unique characteristics caused by Astral Code, you won’t be taken over by the ‘Wrath’ state.
Strength 106, Agility 101, Stamina 96. Including the effect from Paranormal, two stats had risen beyond 100.
Of course, Paranormal’s blessing only had 10 minutes remaining but I didn’t care.
The blood vessels in my body reduced and my heart beat faster. I wasn’t taken over by an abnormal state. However, intelligence was greatly lowered due to the Wrath skill.
‘I can use it in conjunction with Sloth but…’
I recalled the terrible time when I tested both Wrath and Sloth. There was no need to risk attacking my allies. Wrath was enough.
I had my reason but I was still in a state of excitement. I automatically clenched my teeth. My sword trembled. The darkness in the surrounding area increased.
I lifted my gaze and faced Okullos.
Okullos detected danger and his brows furrowed. A number of blue lights immediately emerged from his body. Roots entered the ground and he became a strong tree that wouldn’t move. An instinctive movement. This change wasn’t unusual to me.
Epic grade skill ‘Naturalization.’ The downside was that Okullos couldn’t move but this skill gave him absolute defense and offense.
Thousands of long gra.s.s started sprouting and grabbed hold of me. The gra.s.s stretching from the ground meant I had a limited s.p.a.ce to move. I couldn’t simply demonstrate strong attacks. But…I clearly saw small gaps where my sword could enter. This was due to agility. Once it went beyond 100, I could see things I normally couldn’t.
I made decisions with cold reason. My eyes didn’t leave Okullos.
‘Okullos. I will make you aware of it.’
I was still immature when I was running around the Demon World.
I was an ‘enemy’ that could truly threaten him!
Slowly but surely, I started to move through the gaps.
* * *
Cruel Commander Maxium.
He kept on eye on his master while causing devastation on the battlefield. The magic power that could be felt even from a distance was obviously the heart of the Emperor. The reason why it entered the body of a demon didn’t matter. Maxium was excited by the overwhelming appearance of the demon.
Electrifying. The power to beat everything. The sword moved quickly and the afterimage struck countless enemies. He would unleash a stronger power as he fell into a deeper crisis.
“For the Great Emperor!”
Maxium wielded his golden sword. The sword now emitted a brilliant light.
The Great Emperor. His master was struggling alone in enemy territory!
The skeleton soldiers moved. He directed them to certain positions. They cut the necks of the enemies and advanced forward. The limbs were cut off as they moved. Their bodies continued advancing even without arms or legs.
A switch in momentum. The battle became taut.
At the same time, the griffin and other creatures couldn’t be ignored. They weren’t under Maxium’s command so he disliked them. But they were the Emperor’s creatures.
“Huhaha! Look! The demons are being overcome by His Majesty’s overwhelming power!”
Maxium laughed while wielding his sword.
From Maxium’s point of view, the four demons didn’t have a strong partnership. In particular, one person felt completely different from the rest.
But those demons. They weren’t all his opponents. Even if he couldn’t recover all his power, Maxium had no doubts about the Emperor’s victory. It was a breathtaking moment as he felt his master’s power rise by leaps and bounds in front of certain demons. The air started vibrating from an abnormal change.
And the struggle started.
“Great! Your Majesty! Take care!”
Kung! Kung! Kung!
All the skeletons knocked on their shield with their sword. The sound resonated and spread all over the place.
A cheer. Roars. Praying for his victory. He should not be defeated. Winning was the only way to prove himself.
Maxium kept an eye on the Emperor’s fight against the demons.
He wasn’t amused.
The Emperor was forced to fight in a confined s.p.a.ce and were surrounded by demons.
He frowned every time the tree like demon Okullos was cut. He couldn’t feel relieved. The branches cut by Dark Sword couldn’t recover. Thousands of branches had to be sliced by the sword before eventually revealing the underside.
The remaining three dukes…two of them didn’t even enter the fight. They couldn’t find any gaps.
Maxium couldn’t help even if he wanted to. He couldn’t barge into the fight.
He shook his head. The fight was violent and sharp.
His hands unconsciously started trembling but he soothed them.
This was the battlefield given to him. He could stop some worry by taking care of this fight.
At that moment, the Emperor’s sword fiercely sliced the body of a demon. It wasn’t a fatal blow but it was adequate. His face changed. It wasn’t complete but there was a small smile. His master couldn’t help smiling.
It was then that Maxium realized.
…He would win!
“Our G.o.d has returned!”
His heart had already stopped but it was burning hot.
* * *
10 minutes pa.s.sed. Paranormal’s blessing finished.
At the same time, I succeeded in leaving a long stab in Okullos’ side.
“Next is the neck.”
I smiled, revealing my teeth.
Okullos had a confused expression.
“You…are you really Randalph Brigsiel?”
“Then who are you looking at?”
“Who, who are you?”
The att.i.tude wasn’t easily recognized.
It was natural. I was completely different compared to the Demon World. Decades had pa.s.sed for me before I came back in time. He thought I only became moderately stronger but I brutally broke his defenses. He no longer mentioned ‘interesting.’ All that confidence had disappeared.
The dukes approached them. But Okullos stretched out his hand and stopped them.
“I can see with Naturalization. I know the essence of all life. You are not Randalph Brigsiel.”
“Don’t make me laugh. Aren’t you just trying to escape?”
Okullos opened his mouth. He seemed to be suspicious of something but Okullos couldn’t express it. Okullos hesitated for 10 seconds before shaking his head.
“There is not beneficial for both sides to be fighting each other. That skill of yours is gone and I won’t be able to stay in this state much longer. How about we withdraw for now?”
It was accurate. I didn’t know how much longer Wrath would last. Prolonging this fight would do more harm than good.
But I just let out a big laugh.
One of the 4 grand dukes, Okullos had requested a truce.
“You certainly have an abnormal growth. If you are lucky then you might be able to kill me here. But you also can’t avoid death.”
That was also right. Okullos’ words were likely to be true. I knew that this battlefield was fierce. It wouldn’t be easy to get away from the three dukes when I was in a weakened state.
“Is it really like that?”
But I couldn’t just accept it.
“Do you want to go to the end?”
Okullos asked like I was stupid.
“Give up one arm. Then I will think about it.”
I couldn’t let go so easily.
And in fact…Okullos was better alive than dead.
If Okullos disappeared then the balance of power would be completely destroyed. The entire situation might get back to the other grand dukes. If Okullos died then the rest of the demons would scale up rapidly. In addition, variables would appear.
If I wanted to get rid of the variables, I would need to get rid of the rest of the demons in Okullos’ faction. Grand Duke Upa was also my enemy right now. It was still too premature.
“One arm…cheaper than I thought.”
Okullos knew that it would never recover if I cut off his arm with Dark Sword. Even so, he gracefully accepted. Obviously something had happened to make him change his mind.
The dukes were filled with resentment. However, Okullos’ expression didn’t change.
“You don’t have to worry. I got my hands on some very large information today. The value of my arm can’t even be compared.”
At that moment, the dukes became quiet. They only said a few words of complaints.
Okullos was quite unknown. So it wasn’t easy for me to determine what was true or false. Personally, I thought he was just bluffing. There had to be a reason why the dukes were looking like that.
Okullos released Naturalization and held out his right arm. Okullos directly stretched out his arm towards me. It wasn’t easy to remember that he was a grand duke.
I grasped Wrath.
The war was over. Okullos and his demons started to back off.
I stepped back after cutting off Okullos’ right arm.
I looked at the situation around me. In less than an hour, the troops had been reduced by more than half. I could tell how long and violently they had been fighting.
The Cruel Commander Maxium came running over.
I blocked him from kneeling down. I caught Maxium’s shoulder and looked straight into his eyes.
“The way to awaken the heart. What is it?”