Book 2: Chapter 41
That was something past a joke.
With a stiff expression on his face, one of the hunters approached Kim Go-hyuk. His entire body was exuding a tremendous amount of murderous intent.
The figure of this hunter, who was walking, slowly disappeared.
He reappeared behind Kim Go-hyuk, and in his hand, a kukri(1) covered in ki appeared.
The man swung his kukri at Kim Go-hyuk’s waist.
But soon after, the hunter felt a great shock to the back of his head. He didn’t even notice the attack. He simply fell to the ground like a broken doll without even getting the chance to scream.
“What the hell?”
Most of the hunters there didn’t even see Kim Go-hyuk move.
Noticing this, Kim Go-hyuk couldn’t help but feel a bit disappointed.
“I heard that the quality of European hunters was really poor, but I didn’t expect it to be this bad.”
At that moment, one of the hunters in the stands looked at Kim Go-hyuk and stuttered.
“Hea-, Heavenly Dragon Kim Go-hyuk…?”
“Ah. It seems one of you punks managed to recognise me.”
Kim Go-hyuk said those words with a proud voice. Then he looked around with a satisfied expression on his face before it suddenly changed.
“Huh. There’s a familiar face.”
He was looking at Min Ha-rin.
Her expression hardened as she met his gaze.
“I heard that the White Flower had been freed from slavery, but she didn’t go back to her country and instead stayed to wallow in this pit. Lee Jong-hak was the same. Are there lumps of gold buried in this place or something?”
Min Ha-rin tried to hide the tension she felt.
This wasn’t her first time meeting this man. They were from the same country, and they were both most active in the East Asia region. She was a Titled Hunter who’d made a name for herself, and Kim Go-hyuk was one of Asia’s greatest heroes. So it was natural for them to be acquainted with each other.
The same branch, the same country.
None of that mattered to this man in front of her. Although there were only a few people who cared about their nationalities nowadays, Kim Go-hyuk had always made Min Ha-rin feel uncomfortable.
She’d felt that way from the first time she’d met him, and she felt the same now.
On the other hand, she liked the Human Dragon, Lee Jong-hak, and the Earthly Dragon, Kano Aya, much more.
“Is what you just said true?”
Min Ha-rin asked in a slightly strange tone.
She was asking whether Nina was dead or alive.
If Nina was really dead, then this matter would no longer be so simple. There might be a war between humans for the first time in decades.
Just as Kim Go-hyuk smiled, a middle-aged man beside him stepped forward.
“…let me continue from here. You step back.”
Min Ha-rin also knew who this man was.
Sword Saint of Mount Hua.
He was one of the top hunters in Asia and was a Swordsman who was said to be approaching the peak of the Master rank.
When Kim Go-hyuk shrugged his shoulders and stepped back, the Sword Saint continued in a calm voice.
“I’m sorry to come to my European comrades for such an unpleasant matter. I’m Jong Ho, a Swordsman from Mount Hua.”
“B-, by Mount Hua, he means…”
“It’s the Sword Saint.”
Those who heard this prestigious title couldn’t help but falter a little.
“I will tell you straightforwardly. Nina Rednikova, the President you were following, is a traitor who colluded with the Demons. We’re here to purge that witch and any who followed her to do evil.”
The atmosphere in the room became even colder.
Everyone had disbelieving expressions on their faces, but someone stepped forward.
“Don’t be ridiculous.”
This man with a cold expression was Matthew Costa, who had officiated the duel today.
He was one of the few European Titled Hunters and had the highest status among the hunters in the room.
When he made his appearance, everyone naturally stepped back and let him take the lead.
“Our President is a witch? She colluded with Demons? Stop using such a clumsy incitement tactic.”
“It’s not incitement. It’s a fact.”
Kim Go-hyuk spoke in a cold voice.
“Do you have any evidence?”
“There should be a man named Lukas here.”
Min Ha-rin’s eyes shook when she heard that name, and Kim Go-hyuk’s eyes curved slightly when he noticed it.
“Are you referring to the man who often goes in and out of the President’s office?”
“Why are you talking about that man?”
Jong Ho sighed.
“He is a Demon.”
“Who told you that?”
“Our new President…. I don’t have any more time to explain. Please trust me. We have seen enough blood today.”
“What did you say?”
Matthew’s expression distorted when he belatedly realised what Jong Ho’s words meant.
“You guys… no way…”
“Stop, Sword Saint. You already told them enough. Step back.”
Kim Go-hyuk waved his hand.
Jong Ho seemed hesitant, but he slowly stepped back.
“Now. The best conclusion I can come to is that you didn’t believe us. And now, you should accept the consequences for that, shouldn’t you?”
“…Kim Go-hyuk, please show mercy.”
Kim Go-hyuk ignored Jong Ho’s words.
“I honestly don’t care what happens to you weaklings. So let’s sort this out quickly.”
Then he looked around before nodding.
“There are some good ones here. That one, that one, and that one.”
Kim Go-hyuk pointed his finger three times and nodded in satisfaction.
He’d pointed to Min Ha-rin, Matthew Costa, and Gerard, who was still in the duel ground.
Matthew’s eyes widened.
This was because Kim Go-hyuk had just crushed the head of the hunter, who lay stunned at his feet, like a watermelon. It was the hunter who had attacked him with a kukri.
His blood splattered.
Kim Go-hyuk licked some of the blood that splattered on his lips before saying.
“Kill everyone except those three.”
* * *
Gerard was watching the situation from the duel grounds. When the Asian hunters appeared, he recognised the man standing at the front of the group.
It was the Heavenly Dragon, Kim Go-hyuk. But why was he at the European Headquarters?
He couldn’t hear their conversation very well. It might’ve been different if he was in his peak condition, but at the moment, he was exhausted.
However, a cold shiver soon ran down his spine.
He wasn’t sure who it was, but he knew that someone had just died.
Just as Gerard’s expression hardened.
An Asian person leapt into the duel ground in an instant. It was a woman who had a cold expression on her face, and there were throwing knives between her fingers.
Gerard was puzzled inwardly. He didn’t understand what he was doing.
He felt warm blood roll down his skin. He felt pain. Even without looking, he could tell that there were throwing knives stuck in his body.
Three knives had been stuck in his shoulder, left arm, and thigh.
‘Why did I…?’
He’d protected Leo.
Was it guilt? Was he trying to atone?
No, such human emotions didn’t exist in Gerard. From his perspective, he would even throw a newborn baby off a cliff if he had a good enough excuse.
But before he could think about it, his body had moved. He didn’t know why.
He just didn’t want this woman to kill Leo. So first, he decided to focus on that fact.
Gerard looked at the woman while checking his condition.
His left arm couldn’t move. It seemed that the knife had struck a tendon. His right wrist was also sore because of the previous clash.
This meant that he couldn’t use either of his hands. Well, he didn’t have any weapons anyway. Leo had smashed his sword to pieces.
Most of his ki had been used up, and his stamina was almost completely exhausted.
And to make matters worse, Gerard was sure that he’d been pointed at just a moment ago.
‘I don’t think I’ve been in such a bad situation even when fighting against Demons.’
The woman pulled out more knives.
Gerard looked at her and smiled.
He felt that he might die today.
* * *
God disappeared after saying what he wanted.
And Lukas knew he had no way to pursue him. He didn’t have the time.
‘A being from the same universe?’
They were in this world? Who the hell could he be talking about?
No, more importantly, how could such a thing even happen?
In order to leave one’s universe of birth, one had to break free from the yoke of mortality.
One had to become an Absolute.
Lukas’ past struggles showed just how close to impossible accomplishing such a feat was.
It wasn’t something that was possible merely with talent and hard work.
You had to be born at the right time, carry destiny on your back, and survive dozens of life-or-death situations before you had even the faintest possibility of becoming an Absolute.
‘Lord or Lucifer…’
Lukas couldn’t help but think about the two beings who’d had a high chance of becoming Absolutes.
But they were already dead.
The possibility that they’d come back to life?
Their cores had become one with Lukas.
Apart from them… he didn’t think there were any other possibilities.
His head was a mess. It would take time to unravel the tangled threads. Time he didn’t have.
Lukas had something to deal with first.
Just as Lukas left the Personal Space, the dark space suddenly brightened. If it was said that the space he stepped out from had no light, then this space was entirely made up of light.
It was a space that was so bright that it blinded him for a moment.
This was a Dimensional Gap.
And standing there was Sedi.
When Lukas appeared, she opened her eyes slightly and said.
“That’s the hint I got from God.”
A light flashed in Lukas’ eyes at the unexpected word.
It was true that he wanted to hear it, but he never thought that she’d be naive enough to tell him.
Sedi looked at Lukas with a slightly strange expression. In her mind, she was still remembering the way he talked to God.
He was indeed a madman. That name was perfect for him.
“Don’t be mistaken. I just thought that telling you this would be a good balance.”
Although she had entered a temporary alliance with Lukas, she wasn’t willing to let him know more. She had already given him this much, so he would have to rely on himself for the rest.
As soon as she turned around, Sedi’s figure disappeared.
Lukas looked at the spot where Sedi had been standing for a moment before looking away, thinking that it was time to return.
Three and Hybrid.
There was only one more clue remaining, but the mystery seemed to deepen instead. Right now, those two words didn’t seem to have much of a connection.
[Haha. Of you three, you have the greatest advantage, Lukas.]
God’s words once again reappeared in his mind. He didn’t know what he meant when he first heard it, but now, he thought he might have an idea.
Lukas couldn’t help but think about the mysterious black-robed man.
He was a soul who lived on this plan and could even be called a Balance. However, after the appearance of the Demons, he lost his authority and became a simple spectre.
This being, who existed before the birth of this world, and who could even be called the God of Heaven and Earth of this world, might know something.
Lukas returned to the European headquarters.
Otsuru’s body was still on the floor, his mouth agape.
He was dead. And Nodiesop’s influence had already left his body.
But it still seemed like he had something to say.
With that thought, Lukas left the room.
He stepped on something unfamiliar.
When he looked down, he realised that it was a piece of flesh. He could feel an unpleasant warmth coming from his shoes, so he knew it hadn’t been long since they’d died.
The corridor, which had been clean before he and Otsuru entered the room, was now covered in red.
The disgusting smell of blood filled his nose, and there were so many corpses that it seemed like a terrible battlefield.
Suddenly a group of hunters appeared.
The group consisted only of Asians, and when they saw Lukas, they tilted their heads to the side.
“What’s going on? There’s still one left.”
“Where was he? I checked this area before.”
“It doesn’t matter. We’ve found him now.”
The man in front of the group smiled.
“You must be stiff because you haven’t realised what’s going on. When you’re done coming to terms with the situation, raise your hands and kneel down. Then we’ll se-, sen…”
The man’s tongue suddenly felt stiff.
“Se-, sen-, send…”
What was going on?
He suddenly felt cold sweat over his entire body.
His pupils and body shook like a thin three in heavy winds.
He couldn’t calm down.
Instead, the shaking became worse.
This was wrong.
This thought suddenly came to him.
If you asked him what was wrong, he wouldn’t be able to answer.
But it was wrong.
Something about this situation was wrong.
1. The kukri or khukuri is a type of machete originating from the Indian subcontinent, and is traditionally associated with the Nepali-speaking Gurkhas of Nepal and India.)