Book 2: Chapter 121
Slei and Reika called Arid’s mysterious power [Brilliance]. It was a power that suited the child born from the light, who had innately powerful spiritual energy.
[Communication] was only one part of the power of [Brilliance].
Slei focused more on Communication.
In fact, when it came to Communication, he was as skilled at utilising and understanding it as Arid was.
Reika, on the other hand, used most of her power to change her body.
As a result, her ugly, aging skin regained its supple elasticity and her aging bones became stronger than ever before.
That wasn’t all.
Just by covering her body in Brilliance, she became so strong that she could be called ‘superhuman’.
Reika knew that in such a state, there were very few people who could match her.
This wasn’t a bluff or delusion either. It was a conclusion that was based on actual experience.
-The Saint of Salvation, one of the Top Three.
The achievement that was commonly considered to have granted the Saint their spot in the Top Three was the single-handed defeat of five Marquises.
However, that achievement, as well as all of the achievements gained in Australia, had actually been accomplished by Reika, not Arid.
What kind of human could easily defeat five Demon Marquises on their own?
It was only natural that Reika gained confidence as a result of her victory.
Light erupted from Reika’s body.
In truth, Lukas found that it was nothing special. It seemed that this power could be used in many different ways depending on the desires of the user. But Reika’s strengthening of her body could only be considered one-dimensional at best.
And naturally, something like that had no hope of breaching Lukas’ barrier.
Reika grit her teeth before widening the distance once more, her fist throbbing.
She was well aware of the tricks that Wizards and Sorcerers used. After all, she’d clashed with Wizards from the Wizard’s Association many times.
They were all snobbish and unpleasant, their real-life experience was always lacking, and they were usually only ever good at theory. Even if she were to fight dozens of them at one time, she would be able to deal with them easily.
Annoyed, Reika sneered.
“It seems you don’t intend to use your Absolute powers. Are you still concerned about keeping the balance of the universe?”
“I’m always concerned.”
Lukas waved his hand slightly in response.
At the same time, dozens of spears of ice shot up from the floor. Reika tried to avoid them all in the little time she had to react, but a single spear pierced her ankle.
Reika winced slightly from the pain as she landed on one foot, glaring at the man in front of her. She understood what her opponent was trying to say.
He wasn’t using his Absolute power because he was afraid of influencing the balance of this universe. Instead, he simply didn’t feel the need to.
The hole in her ankle closed up in an instant. This was also a function of Brilliance. It had a transcendental regenerative ability, able to heal almost any injury in only a matter of moments.
Nevertheless, Reika’s expression wasn’t good. After all, the Brilliance power that she had was not infinite.
Lukas looked at her for a moment before muttering.
“It seems you’re beginning to return to your true form.”
Reika quickly raised a hand to her face, immediately feeling the wrinkles that had begun to form on her previously smooth skin.
“Are you unable to give up your obsession with your appearance even in this situation?”
Screaming, Reika charged forward. She’d managed to keep her cool until then, but the moment Lukas mentioned her appearance, she immediately lost her temper.
“In the end, you used the desperation of others to satisfy your own selfish desires.”
“Ha. Don’t try to act like you’re a noble person.”
Reika’s voice was filled with hate.
“It was simply a deal. They wanted something, and I had the means to make it possible! What’s so wrong about that?”
“That’s why you’re going to die.”
Lukas spoke in a low voice.
“Because I can’t understand it.”
Just as Lukas lifted his hand…
A bright flash of light appeared in the middle of him and Reika.
Before the light began to fade, Lukas was able to tell who it was.
He slowly opened his mouth.
Arid hesitated before nodding and responding.
He had a complicated expression on his face.*
Lukas couldn’t help but wonder what he was thinking at that moment. Unfortunately, his spiritual eyes blocked even Lukas’ insight.
Nevertheless, he was certain about one thing.
Arid wasn’t surprised to see Lukas in a physical form.
“Is this woman your family?”
“…she’s my grandmother.”
Lukas lowered his hand. At that moment, Reika looked at Arid with a happy expression.
“Ohhh… Arid, you saved me.”
Her supple facial muscles had become loose, and her skin became covered in wrinkles and age spots.
Nevertheless, Reika smiled brightly.
“Hurry up and get rid of that Demon… You should be able to do that much, right…?”
“Grandmother, you tricked me.”
“Right. I’m sorry… But I did it for everyone’s happiness.”
“It’s not just me. You also tricked everyone from the Church of Eternal Life.”
“Arid… Are you blaming Grandma now?”
Reika lowered her voice as she said this, and Arid bit his lip. Hard enough to draw blood.
Then, he strode towards Reika.
“Grandmother, what the hell…”
Lukas wondered just how Arid would react, but he couldn’t pay attention to their reunion any longer.
Lukas looked up at the ceiling. To be precise, he was looking beyond it.
Even though the sun was about to rise, the sky had turned black. This was a darkness that wouldn’t be seen even in the middle of a starless night.
Then, a black spark streaked across the sky.
It was as though lightning had struck.
But it wasn’t lightning. It was far larger and more powerful than lightning. Moreover, he could feel the malicious energy from there.
The power contained in this single black streak was enough to destroy the entire Korean Branch.
Lukas didn’t take too long to react.
He immediately erected a barrier.
A barrier as strong and as large as he could make it. In other words, it covered the entirety of the Korean Branch and the facility underground.
Nevertheless, the barrier still cracked, nearly shattering. It had only barely managed to withstand the attack.
Lukas stumbled backward, his insides churning.
“M-, Mr. Soul?”
Arid’s eyes widened at the sudden movement.
Lukas didn’t respond.
‘…that’s not the Five Dukes.’
Even if the two Dukes were to work together, they would not have been able to achieve such destructive power.
Lukas’ heart raced.
He already knew who it was.
He once again looked up at the ceiling, this time using Clairvoyance. His power allowed him to spot the being standing in the sky, hidden behind the clouds.
He’d never met him before, but he knew.
The being clenched their fist and muttered.
If they didn’t witness it for themselves, perhaps no one would believe what happened next.
With that soft murmur, half of the Korean Branch disappeared.
* * *
About ten minutes before half of the Korean Branch of the Hunter Association disappeared.
Ugkas froze in place, honestly wondering if he was imagining things or not.
Unbelievably, it was Sipakna’s grotesque sounds that brought him back to his senses.
This Demon Duke, who looked like a monster, recovered before Ugkas, who still stood idly.
It bent its body in a strange sign of subservience.
After seeing that, Ugkas quickly fell to one knee.
“I, I greet the King…!”
He paid his respect to none other than the Demon King.
Demon King Kasajin’s reaction was no different from usual. He simply nodded his head calmly.
[Raise your head.]
Ugkas slowly raised his head. It was fortunate that his metal body didn’t have sweat glands. Otherwise, he would have been covered in cold sweat.
He gulped slightly before speaking in a hesitant tone.
“Wh-, why did you come here?”
His heart was pounding so loudly that it was disturbing.
He couldn’t help but wonder if the King had come to punish them for failing to capture Kran after so long. Or if he was there because he no longer wanted to wait…
‘I have no excuse…’
Of course, Kasajin hadn’t mentioned a time span for the mission, but that was still not an excuse.
It was an order that had been given by the King himself.
It should have been completed as quickly as possible, and it could have been.
However, Ugkas had decided to enjoy a bit of slaughter in this land. In other words, he’d taken his time.
‘If I had put aside that mindset and focused on the mission…’
Ugkas was confident that he could raze the Korean Peninsula to the ground in three days or less. If he had done that, then it would have been easy to find Kran.
[I didn’t come here to blame you, Ugkas.]
[There is a being here whom you have no hope of resisting.]
Someone’s name flashed through Ugkas’ mind at that moment.
The one who had killed Gullard Phisfounder, one of the Five Dukes like him.
Looking into the distance, Kasajin spoke slowly.
[You finish what you came here to do. I will deal with him.]
*(TL: So I have a mini confession. It was confirmed that Arid was male about two chapters ago, but I hadn’t changed from ‘they/them’ because I kind of liked the idea of not actually knowing his gender. But I decided to finally accept the reality and use the proper pronouns. Sorry for my arbitrary actions…
Also, I must say that I’m quite confused with this whole ‘two of the Five Dukes’ thing. Didn’t they say many times before that Sipakna was stronger than other Dukes but still weaker than the Five Dukes?)