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The demon had turned into a charcoal.
Beltreche's voice sounded as if it was leaking out of a statue carved out from a block of jet-black charcoal.
Along with the noise of something splitting up, the eighty-second demon king began moving slowly.
Charcoal bits covering the hide broke and fell to the ground.
The bits of burnt-out charcoal and ash suddenly exploded away from Beltreche's body as the demon king let off a light grunt.
Beltreche's yellow eyes scanned the condition of its body.
All of its scales were burned to ash and had fallen off. The pale yellow flesh underneath was exposed in the open. Pungent fluid leaked out from here and there, and even faint traces of blood could be seen, as well.
However, that was all.
If it was only on the levels of the scales being damaged, it'd heal up pretty quickly.
Rather, it was Yi Ji-Hyuk, the person firing the magic, who had suffered far grievous wounds, instead.
By performing an attack he shouldn't have, he received unimaginable backlash from the dark Mana, causing his body to be wrecked almost beyond salvage - meaning, he ended up far worse in that exchange.
"Ha….." (Yi Ji-Hyuk)
Yi Ji-Hyuk spat out a low groan.
This couldn't be right….
No matter how weak he had become, he still retained all of his precise control over Mana, as well as his sharply-honed battle instinct.
That magic did land according to his calculations. So, it shouldn't have ended with causing that little damage to the target. Even if the spell failed to kill the enemy outright, it should still have inflicted some major wounds…..
"How weak." (Beltreche)
Brand new scales began growing on the body of Beltreche.
Those scales seemed to be a bit more softer than what used to cover the demon king's body, but as soon as covering the reptilian demon completely, they dried up and hardened in an instant to perfectly match the complexion of the past.
"Far, far too weak!!" (Beltreche)
Beltreche roared out.
"Is this your current pathetic self, Yi Ji-Hyuk!!" (Beltreche)
"How dare a d*mn lizard…." (Yi Ji-Hyuk)
Yi Ji-Hyuk faltered unsteadily.
He wanted to stand up straight and shout, but his utterly torn and twisted up muscles didn't want to obey him.
"I never expected you to die from a single hit, okay?" (Yi Ji-Hyuk)
Yi Ji-Hyuk's eyes became withdrawn.
If one hit didn't work, then two hits…
If that didn't work, then hit the b*stard three times. Four….
Hit it over and over again.
That had been Yi Ji-Hyuk's style until now.
If this was in the past, he'd have already poured out dozens of similar magic attacks by now. But that was no longer possible, so he had no choice but to draw out the proceedings and shoot on one magic after next until enough damage had been piled on.
‘But then, doesn't it look like I'll die first before that happens?' (Yi Ji-Hyuk)
A situation where the attacking party was getting hurt far worse. How could that make any sense?
As if his internal organs was still burning, the smell of blood and scorching heat rushed up in his throat.
"Mister Ji-Hyuk." (Affeldrichae)
Affeldrichae's worried voice could be heard next.
This woman… Who is she even worrying about now?
You think this is a situation where you can possibly worry about me or anyone else? (Yi Ji-Hyuk's inner monologue)
"….Go rip that b*stard apart!!" (Yi Ji-Hyuk)
As soon as Yi Ji-Hyuk's roar resounded out, the monsters observing the situation from the side bared their fangs again and pounced on Beltreche.
"Annoying pests." (Beltreche)
Pure naked irritation crumpled Beltreche's expression.
A smirk formed on Yi Ji-Hyuk's face involuntarily after he found a b.l.o.o.d.y lizard daring to display its irritation quite a bit impudent to behold.
Meanwhile, Beltreche grabbed the very first monster to arrive and threw the hapless creature back at the rushing pack.
The body of the monster slammed into the wall of air and ripped into pieces. In an instant, the creature exceeded the speed of sound and a sonic boom exploded out behind it.
The noise of the exploding air!
The speed that would not slow down!
The flying monster collided with other monsters and caused a ma.s.sive explosion, and they began spinning around violently like a tornado swirling on its side to sweep away other monsters in the vicinity.
"Uwaaaahh!!" (Yi Ji-Hyuk)
In the meantime, black tentacles sprouted out from Yi Ji-Hyuk back endlessly.
"Mister Yi Ji-Hyuk!" (Seo Ah-Young)
Quickly realising that was about to happen, NDF agents gathered around Yi Ji-Hyuk.
"Keuk!" (Yi Ji-Hyuk)
Yi Ji-Hyuk managed to control the tentacles just enough to wrap them around the NDF agents. And then, he injected dark Mana into them.
Pained groans came from them immediately.
Yi Ji-Hyuk's body twisted so much that his flesh actually tore right open and black-coloured blood poured out.
"I need time!" (Yi Ji-Hyuk)
"Roger." (Seo Ah-Young)
Seo Ah-Young shouted out, her eyes now deeply withdrawn.
"Get in formation!" (Seo Ah-Young)
"Wuoooooo!" (Park Sung-Chan)
Right as her command was issued, Park Sung-Chan dashed forward with bloodshot eyes. The ‘Red Rock' Kim Myung-Woon and other body-reinforcement type ability users followed tightly behind him.
However, the one to arrive at the target way before the others was ‘Path Drifter' Kim Dah-Hyun.
"Tah-aht!!" (Kim Dah-Hyun)
Kim Dah-Hyun's kick left behind ear-splitting shock waves as it barrelled towards Beltreche's face.
Unfortunately, the reptilian demon king relaxedly caught the kick with one hand.
Along with yet another explosive noise, Kim Dah-Hyun's leg broke at the shin and bent the wrong way.
"Kuwaaahh!!" (Kim Dah-Hyun)
Even though he screamed out loudly, Kim Dah-Hyun didn't stop there and used his other leg to stomp down hard on Beltreche's head.
He definitely landed his kick on the crown of the demon king's head. However, just because the attack landed properly, it didn't mean any sort of tangible damage could be inflicted.
Issuing a skin-crawling noise, Kim Dah-Hyun's other leg was also broken from the shin and spun to the wrong way.
"You're indeed quick, but….." (Beltreche)
….But, that was all.
Beltreche's right fist aimed for Kim Dah-Hyun's solar plexus.
"Uwaaaht!!" (Park Sung-Chan)
Park Sung-Chan had arrived in the meantime, and he managed to grab Kim Dah-Hyun's waist to yank the younger man back.
The grip was so strong that Kim Dah-Hyun's ribs broke one after the other, and his flesh was even ripped off, but at least, he was able to live. But that meant Park Sung-Chan was now exposed to Beltreche's attack, instead.
Beltreche's fist slammed into Park Sung-Chan's torso.
Park Sung-Chan's body that exceeded the toughness of steel and made others wonder if it was now made out of diamond, was easily perforated through like a piece of cardboard.
He couldn't even scream as his disbelieving eyes looked down at the arm buried to the elbow in his chest.
He then grabbed Beltreche's arm still stuck in his chest.
However, the demon king simply slapped him away with its free hand, causing Park Sung-Chan to fly away like a cannon sh.e.l.l with his caved-in chest and all. It was only a small relief that the hands grabbing onto Beltreche's arm hadn't been ripped off in the process.
"Aaaaahhh!!!" (Seo Ah-Young)
Seo Ah-Young's flames, many spots of darkness clearly visible within, crossed the vast sky and fell upon Beltreche.
The demon king watched this spectacle and tilted its head.
The super-hot flames that defied any and all attempts to measure their temperature swallowed up Beltreche and began roasting the creature. However, it simply waved its hand about to create a whirlwind to easily blow away the surrounding flames.
"Now this is rather strange. It's definitely not magic, yet to be able to do something that. Maybe, the species called ‘ability users' is far closer to demons than to humans?" (Beltreche)
The fact that these beings were born with high-cla.s.s abilities and grew progressively stronger in that direction, wouldn't that alone make these beings much closer to spirits or demons, rather than humans?
‘Even if they are all supposed to be humans, they are not the same….' (Beltreche)
Just because the exterior was the same, they couldn't be described as the same type of humans. No, it was more correct to say that humans of Berafe and humans of this planet were two rather different species at this point in time.
Rudra's blade-like storm winds tried to sweep away Beltreche, while Spitfire's flames of cannon slammed into the demon.
Explosions continued to throw up clouds of dust. Smell of flesh burning, and scent of blood, filled the air and a.s.saulted one's senses.
"Aaaaah!!" (Yi Ji-Hyuk)
In the meantime, Yi Ji-Hyuk completed his next spell. His right hand pointing at the sky swung down. A sharp blade formed from the dark Mana descended at near the speed of light towards Beltreche's body.
Yi Ji-Hyuk could only gnash his teeth at the result.
He had condensed and compressed Mana to the absolute limit to create that blade, yet it only managed to barely split Beltreche's scales and dig a little bit into the demon king's flesh.
Beltreche reached out with its long tongue to lick the strand of blood trickling down the middle of its face. Tasting its own blood, the demon's agitation grew even greater.
"Should I praise you for wounding me when you possess such a pitiful amount of magical power, or should I lament the fact that you now only possess such a pitiful amount of power and can only make me bleed a little? Which one should it be, Yi Ji-Hyuk?" (Beltreche)
"Heuh….." (Yi Ji-Hyuk)
Yi Ji-Hyuk chuckled bitterly.
You think I'd lament about something if I end up dying today?
I came here to die in the first place, you f*cking lizard b*stard! (Yi Ji-Hyuk's inner monologue)
Mana began condensing around both of Yi Ji-Hyuk's fists.
"Get away from that thing!" (Yi Ji-Hyuk)
The order was given; ability users surrounding Beltreche all retreated further away in an instant.
"Oh-Sik-ah!" (Yi Ji-Hyuk)
Oh-Sik's body had ballooned up to a grotesque proportion after far too much Mana had been injected into him, but that gave him enough physical power to push Beltreche down.
"How dare a measly Ogre….!!" (Beltreche)
Beltreche frowned and swung its arm, and one of Oh-Sik's front limbs was torn asunder like a piece of rag and flew off to the far off ground.
However, Oh-Sik didn't seem to feel any pain in his berserk state, as he simply strengthened the remaining limbs and bit down hard on Beltreche's shoulder.
Fangs of an Ogre and Beltreche's scales clashed and issued a powerful metallic noise. Oh-Sik's fangs failed to penetrate Beltreche's scales, though. But, that was already more than enough.
Yi Ji-Hyuk quickly yanked at the black tentacle still buried within Oh-Sik's torso.
By trying to pull back the tentacle still attached to the Ogre, it was Yi Ji-Hyuk's body that flew towards Oh-Sik's location, instead.
The wall of air smashed into his flesh, but Yi Ji-Hyuk had long given up trying to protect his body, and instead focused on condensing and compressing Mana in his hand.
"Uwaaaahhh!!" (Yi Ji-Hyuk)
Blood and foam spat out of his mouth.
His internal organs shook and twisted.
However, Yi Ji-Hyuk didn't stop.
"Beltrecheeeeeeee!" (Yi Ji-Hyuk)
His right arm was now dyed in pure black from the highly-compressed Mana. If he couldn't deal a damage from a far, then he could just punch the living daylights out of the d*mn thing personally!
"Uwaaaaah!" (Yi Ji-Hyuk)
Yi Ji-Hyuk flew faster than the speed of sound, and threw his right fist in the middle of Beltreche's chest just as the latter grabbed onto Oh-Sik.
A truly back-chilling noise came out as Yi Ji-Hyuk's hand broke past the scales on Beltreche's chest and sunk past his wrist.
"Keuh-heuk…." (Yi Ji-Hyuk)
Yi Ji-Hyuk felt a genuinely intolerable pain that made him wonder if his entire hand had actually been obliterated, but he simply gritted his teeth and bore the pain.
Besides, this wasn't the end!
"Blow up, now!!" (Yi Ji-Hyuk)
….Unfortunately, he could hear no other sound. It was as if he had gone deaf just then.
Seeing that Oh-Sik's expression had crumpled in pure pain like that, it must've been a huge explosion. Next up, he saw the face of Beltreche also crumpling in slow motion.
The reptilian demon king opened its mouth.
So very, agonisingly slowly…
‘Lamentable?' (Yi Ji-Hyuk)
Yi Ji-Hyuk felt the sensation of his body sinking down.
….Hey, hasn't it been a whoop-a*s long time since I felt this sensation? (Yi Ji-Hyuk's inner monologue)
Beltreche was getting further and further away in Yi Ji-Hyuk's vision.
Why is that?
That's so weird…..
By the way, whose fountain of blood was that just now?
Hang on a minute, was that… mine?
But, I don't have a spot in my body that should spout blood like that, though? (Yi Ji-Hyuk's inner monologue)
Yi Ji-Hyuk's disbelieving eyes shifted lower. And he spotted a hole large enough to accommodate a fist in his side, with a flood of blood shooting out from there.
Oh, so, the thing is…..
I was. .h.i.t, and now I'm flying away from the impact force, is that it? (Yi Ji-Hyuk's inner monologue)
For some reason, this whole scene felt so surreal to him.
But, what made it feel real to him were the world suddenly moving faster as if the ‘slow motion' mode had come to an end, as well as the indescribable pain shooting up from his side, and lastly, Jeong Hae-Min's loud screaming half mixed in with sorrow.
"Kyyyaaaahhk! Ji-Hyuk-aaaaaaaahh!!" (Jeong Hae-Min)
You're being noisy, you know?
You'd think someone had just died from that. (Yi Ji-Hyuk's inner monologue)
But then, Yi Ji-Hyuk's own vision was getting darker.
Wait, what? Why is it getting dark?
It's still middle of the day, right? (Yi Ji-Hyuk's inner monologue)
Yi Ji-Hyuk then felt his consciousness fading away.
So, is this death?
Really, death? (Yi Ji-Hyuk's inner monologue)
He bit down so hard that his tongue was bitten off almost clean.
Yi Ji-Hyuk regained his consciousness from the sharp pain of biting his own tongue, and gritted his teeth.
No, not yet.
This is not nearly enough! (Yi Ji-Hyuk's inner monologue)
Yi Ji-Hyuk landed hard on the ground, but forced himself to stand again.
"Are you still alive? There is no way you'd be dead so soon like that, yes?" (Beltreche)
He couldn't see properly. However, his ears could hear something.
So, I need to reply.
Even if I die, I gotta make my reply.
If my mouth dies now, then my name ain't Yi Ji-Hyuk no more. (Yi Ji-Hyuk's inner monologue)
"And now…." (Yi Ji-Hyuk)
"I'm gonna tear your throat out, so…. You, you better count on it, you d*mn lizard." (Yi Ji-Hyuk)
Beltreche's chuckles of enjoyment and Yi Ji-Hyuk's own pained groan entered his ears very, very slowly.
< 167.="" count="" on="" it,="" lizard="" -2=""> Fin.