Book 2: Chapter 50
When the elevator doors opened, the first thing he saw was a long, straight hallway. Red carpet was laid along the hallway, and there were even luxurious artworks displayed on both sides. It felt like an art museum.
Letip was the first to start walking down the hallway. He didn’t seem to have any power in his body, but that in itself seemed a bit contradictory as he stepped forward without hesitation.
Lukas looked at his back.
Lukas couldn’t help but mutter his name inwardly.
This man was the last of the three Absolutes who entered this world.
The moment he met him, he realised… but on the other hand, he wouldn’t have realised if he hadn’t met him.
Letip gave him a strange feeling.
Unlike Sedi, who openly released her aura to attract Lukas, or Nodiesop, who had shown his ambition by acquiring his own faction, this man didn’t show any such behaviour.
Of course, this didn’t mean he would jump to any conclusions. After all, he could just be acting more covertly than Nodiesop.
But Lukas couldn’t help but feel that he was completely different.
When their eyes met, this man should have naturally realised who Lukas was. Nevertheless, he didn’t seem interested at all.
What was the reason?
Wasn’t the goal of the Absolutes who came to this world to kill Lukas?
Concealing his doubts, Lukas followed Letip.
First, he would meet Neil Prand. It was clear that he had some kind of connection to Letip.
Of course, he didn’t think Neil would be willing to tell him, but he might be able to get a clue from their conversation.
When they opened the door at the end of the hallway and stepped inside, they found themselves in what appeared to be an office.
The reason it ‘appeared to be’ was because this room seemed far too large to be called an office.
It was as large as the lounge he’d briefly entered on the 125th floor.
And at the end of this large space sat Neil Prand.
He seemed to be filling out some documents, but he put his pen aside when he noticed their arrival.
Letip walked forward before plopping down on a sofa on the left. Then, he picked up a remote from the coffee table in front of him and turned on the TV.
The TV was so large that 100 people would be able to watch it comfortably.
Letip chuckled as he found a show he liked. Without taking his eyes away from the large display, he said.
“I’m hungry. Do you have anything to munch on?”
“I’ll call someone.”
Neil picked up a phone to his right and ordered the food while Letip continued laughing as he watched his show.
Only after hanging up the phone did Neil look at Lukas.
He nodded at a door to his right before walking towards it. Lukas followed him.
It appeared to be a reception room attached to the office. It was much smaller than the office, but it was more suitable for a one-on-one conversation.
“I was rude last time.”
“There were a lot of eyes looking at us. And I’m in a position now where I have to be careful about the things I do.”
Lukas ignored Neil’s apology. It didn’t matter when he spoke formally or informally. He knew that this man in front of him had no respect for him.
“This city is pretty well developed.”
Neil’s eyes shined slightly.
“I can barely remember how it looked a few decades ago. You achieved your goal.”
He believed that Neil could do it. But he never thought that he would be able to achieve his goal so perfectly in such a short amount of time.
Neil Prand was truly an amazing human.
He was a man who could change not just a city, country, or continent but the entire world.
“This country is my everything. I will protect my homeland with my life.”
“I see your thoughts haven’t changed.”
“I’m only human. Unlike you.”
Whenever he heard those words, Lukas felt a stabbing pain in his chest.
This man in front of him couldn’t know, but Lukas had once been human.
Neil Prand continued in a calm voice.
“And humans have limits. So I only look after the humans I can save.”
“By that, you mean the Americans?”
There was a faint glimmer in Neil’s eyes.
“I’ve made numerous suggestions. Even at this moment. We don’t stop people from coming. The economy of North America has grown large enough to support all the hunters from Eurasia, Africa, and Oceania.”
Nevertheless, they didn’t accept his proposal. They might have had their reasons, but Neil didn’t pay attention to that.
“It’s their own choice. Everyone must bear the burden of their own choices.”
“The Demons aren’t active in America.”
Neil paused for a moment at Lukas’ sudden remark before saying.
“…they don’t like to cross the ocean.”
“There are Demons who have the power to move through space. The higher the nobility rank, the more common this power is. With their power, carrying a legion of Demon Beasts across the ocean is not difficult.”
“That’s why we have barriers. Our barriers are stronger and have fewer flaws than those of other regions. This is due to the collaboration between the many Wizards and Sorcerers in this country.”
Lukas’ expression changed slightly.
“Don’t try to fool me with Magical Science, Neil Prand. Do you think I can’t tell it’s just a 7 star barrier at best?”
“You greatly increased the strength of your defenses using soul crystals that you bought from the other branches, but they would only work on Demon Marquises and below.”
This also varied depending on the individual. Among the Marquises, there were a few who could easily break through North America’s barriers.
“There’s no reason for them to come all the way over to America. There are many humans closer to them already.”
His words sounded like the most plausible excuse, but it wasn’t something one would expect to hear from a human.
Many humans closer to them?
That sounded as though he was talking about livestock instead of his own kind.
“The higher ranked the Demon, the more greedy they are. There are many Demon Nobles who would love to get their hands on the hunters in North America.”
“What are you trying to say?”
“Did you make a deal with the Demons?”
Neil fell silent for a moment. Maybe three seconds.
Then he let out a breath.
“…the topic of our conversation seems to have shifted. Aren’t you here as Frey Blake, a Hunter from the European Branch who came to seek aid from North America?”
“I would like for us to move on to our negotiation now.”
He forcibly changed the topic.
This time, it was Lukas who sighed.
Neil Prand had not changed at all from the last time he saw him.
No. Instead, it seemed that he had become more extreme.
However, Lukas couldn’t recklessly call him evil.
He knew how strong his convictions were and how devoted he was to humans. It was just that he needed to widen his view.
That should have been the role of his teacher. This was why Lukas felt responsible for Neil’s deviation.
“How much do you know about the situation in Asia?”
“I know that a man named Nodiesop has become the new President of the Asia Branch. He didn’t just stop there, however. He also took control of most of the forces and facilities of the Hunters Association in that region…”
Neil looked at Lukas for a moment before adding.
“He even got in touch with North America, claiming that he wanted to have a good relationship with us.”
“What did you say?”
“Do you know what kind of being Nodiesop is?”
“He should be something similar to you. A transcendent being with power comparable to that wielded by God.”
Nevertheless, he didn’t appear to be wary of Nodiesop.
It was the same as when he’d first met him.
Neil did not shrink back even when he had an idea of how powerful Lukas was.
This was something that Lukas appreciated.
He believed he could become the symbol who led mankind.
“It’s not difficult for us to protect Europe in itself. After all, our association dislikes Asia much more than Europe. But I can’t make that decision on my own.”
“What do you mean?”
“I’d have to bring it forward to the council of the American Association. Most of the executives with great influence are part of the council, and most of them don’t have a very favorable opinion of Europe.”
Lukas knew that the ‘most’ category also included Neil Prand.
Neil now divided the world into two parts.
Whether it was helpful to North America or not.
His logic could not have been more black and white.
Even now, Neil must have been making calculations in his head.
He was calculating how North America could benefit from the confrontation between Europe and Asia.
He didn’t think about the hunters who would die. Because they weren’t American hunters.
He was a man who already had such a twisted belief. And Lukas couldn’t do anything to change it.
“I’m not asking you to openly put pressure on Asia. You don’t even have to be hostile with them. After all, the true enemies of the hunters are the Demons, not their own kind. All I want you to do is exercise your influence so that the conflict between humans doesn’t escalate.”
“You make it sound so easy. Once we step in, we will no longer be able to hold a neutral position. We’d be forced to take a side in the mud fight.”
“Then you want Europe and Asia to continue fighting like this? Don’t you understand what the outcome would be?”
“At least one side would collapse. And it would most likely be Europe. If the knowledge of this conflict reaches the ears of the Demons, perhaps all the association branches in Eurasia would disappear. Well, that’s only the worst case scenario.”
So he did know.
Lukas looked at Neil with cold eyes. He felt his heart sinking.
“Then the remaining survivors would flock to America. We wouldn’t reject them.”
“…Neil Prand, are you serious?”
Neil didn’t respond right away.
Instead he observed Lukas for a moment.
“And if I am?”
Suddenly, Neil spoke up.
“I’d like to make a proposal.”
“Yes. If you agree to it, then I will help Europe. No, I’d give them my full support. If you like I’d even dispatch a number of troops to Asia.”
This was Neil’s usual manner of speaking.
He would draw attention by suddenly speaking in a completely different manner to how he had been before. He would then list a number of things that he could offer before bringing up his own conditions at the end.
Neil only spoke like this when he was sure.
Sure that the other person would be unable to turn down his offer.
“Lukas, please come to America.”
The emotion in his voice seemed to fill the entire room.
“If you become America’s protector, I will accept any condition.”