Book 2: Chapter 144
“…told you before, Rose.”
A soft whisper echoed in a dark cave.
“There wouldn’t be a second time.”
Followed by a groan from another person.
These unpleasant sounds served as the alarm clock that slowly brought Kran back to consciousness.
“You should be grateful for the King’s mercy. If he hadn’t forgiven you, you would have already disappeared from this world without even a corpse left.”
“…I’m… eternally grateful for your mercy. Your Majesty.”
Hearing the voice of a woman who seemed to be struggling to endure great pain, Kran slowly opened his eyes.
He didn’t feel good at all. It felt like his intestines had been twisted together before being battered repeatedly. He almost wanted to throw up.
Instinctively, he tried to move his arms, but he soon realised that he couldn’t. In fact, he couldn’t move at all.
It was as though his arms, legs, and neck were bound by invisible restraints. Whatever it was had an incredible binding force.
Even if he was in a weakened state, with his strength, Kran could easily break free from steel chains, but whatever it was that bound him didn’t even budge despite him using all his available energy.
‘Why am I bound here?’
Firstly, he decided to calm down, cool his mind, and adjust his breathing.
Then, he slowly recalled his last memories.
He had been fighting Sipakna with Sedi.
Then he had come up with a foolish but workable plan and had run towards Sipakna to carry it out. Then…
…He didn’t remember anything after that.
‘Did Sipakna get me?’
No. That wasn’t it.
He was not dumb enough to not notice an attack coming from the front.
Realising that a third party had probably interfered in the fight, Kran decided to check on his condition.
‘…I have no demonic energy at all.’
His condition wasn’t just bad, it was the worst it could possibly be.
It would be impossible for him to demonise himself in his current state.
Deciding to give up on getting out of his restraints, for now, Kran looked up.
And his expression immediately hardened. This was because he found himself inside what appeared to be the hall of a large building which seemed to give off an antique feel.
Unfortunately, he knew exactly where this was. Images of this hall had been among the materials Ringo had given him in the past. This was the Palace of Versailles, a world-renowned landmark that was located in the city of Versailles, France.
Of course, in the current era, it was much more well known for its new title, ‘The Demon King’s Castle’.
In this hall, Kran saw four beings, each exuding a startling amount of demonic energy. There was even one he knew. Sipakna.
Just like him, the two beings beside him were probably also members of the Five Dukes, an extremely pale man, and a woman bleeding as she kneeled towards the end of the room.
In that spot, a huge being sat on an enormous throne.
Despite not moving a finger, this being’s presence easily engulfed the entire room and suppressed everyone within. It was the Demon King.
[It seems you’ve awoken.]
After Kasajin opened his mouth, the Five Dukes all turned their attention towards Kran.
Nevertheless, Kran wasn’t startled as he found himself the focus of these immensely powerful beings, instead, he let out a laugh.
“Your underlings were shouting so loudly right next to my ear. It would be a miracle if I didn’t wake up. I’d appreciate it if you could pay a bit more attention to your pets.”
The expression of the pale man, Azazel, became cold.
“Instead of bluffing, you should pay more attention to your situation. Maybe then you’ll be able to keep your insignificant life for a bit longer.”
“Hmph. You’re the one that’s bluffing.”
“What are you talking about?”
Kran coughed a couple times. It felt like something was built up in his lungs. Soon afterward, he felt something warm rush up his throat.
After vomiting up a mouthful of blood, his stomach felt a bit better.
Kran then spoke in a much more relaxed tone.
“If you could’ve killed me, you would’ve done it by now.”
Azazel narrowed his eyes.
“Right. As you said, I can’t kill you. But I can do anything else to you.”
As he said those words in a dangerous tone, he slowly stalked towards Kran.
“Since you’re a hybrid, you probably won’t die if I ripped your tongue out, right?”
Kasajin only muttered a single word.
But Azazel immediately stopped moving and knelt towards the king.
[I have no intention of harming you. I’m sure you feel much better now. But you ‘could use a bit more rest’.]
“Ha. What the hell…”
Kran, who was about to retort, suddenly felt a burst of fatigue fill his body.
An unknown power was forcing him back into unconsciousness.
Just before he finally passed out, Kran managed to squeeze out a few words.
After his head had fallen to rest on the floor once again, Kasajin slowly rose from his throne.
As he looked down at Kran, he couldn’t help but mutter.
[He has matured a bit, but it is still far from enough. Kran needs to grow even stronger.]
“May I ask what you mean, My Lord?”
Kasajin answered without thinking about it.
[We’ll go together.]
* * *
Nina Rednikova blinked.
The darkroom was only lit, dimly, by a single candle that sat in the far corner.
This was the sight that she’d missed so much, but she’d never thought she would be able to see again.
“It would be best for you to keep your eyes closed as much as possible. You should also avoid any place with bright lights, and make sure to wear sunglasses when you truly have no choice.”
“Am I really… really healed?”
When Nina asked this question with a stutter, Arid smiled gently.
“As long as you take good care of yourself, your sight will return to the way it used to be.”
Nina fell silent after receiving his reply, speechless.
Min Ha-rin, who stood at the side, also watched on in amazement.
She knew just how strong the curse that had been used to blind Nina was.
It was a powerful curse that even an Archbishop of the Catholic Church had been unsure of how to heal. But Arid had completely cured it in less than half an hour.
“…thank you. Thank you so much.”
Nina sobbed in gratitude, but eventually, she fell unconscious.
At that moment, her appearance didn’t match her title ‘Leader of the Iron Blood Army’. She appeared fragile.
Arid quietly got to his feet and said.
“She must have used a lot of energy to heal herself. Her body is currently in an extremely weak state. She will probably regain consciousness in a few days.”
“…Arid, you are really amazing.”
When Min Ha-rin decided to put her admiration into words, Arid could only scratch his cheek bashfully.
“It was nothing.”
This was probably one of the habits he displayed when he felt shy.
However, he coughed to regain his composure before speaking in a serious voice.
“By the way, Senior Sister, please speak comfortably?”
“I’m also one of Master’s disciples now, Senior Sister Min became a disciple much earlier than I did, so you are my senior.”
“…hey, Arid, how old are you?”
Arid then responded with a somewhat stern expression.
“If you keep asking me politely, then I won’t answer you.”
This was said in a stubborn voice.
She’d always thought he was a bit weak-willed, so she didn’t expect him to have such a stubborn side.
Min Ha-rin had no choice but to change her words.
“…Arid, how old are you?” (TL: It’s kind of hard to differentiate polite and casual in english… just know that the sentences are slightly different T~T)
Her tongue felt strange after saying those words. It felt like she’d done something wrong.
And that guilt only grew when she heard Arid’s answer.
This was a ridiculous moment.
Min Ha-rin felt awkward about speaking informally, but Arid had a smile on his face as he got what he wanted.
“How old are you, Senior Sister?”
His innocence and curiosity didn’t match his age.
At first, it was awkward and uncomfortable, but as they continued talking, Min Ha-rin finally came to terms with the situation and began to act more naturally.
Then, she asked her new Junior Brother the question she wanted to ask the most.
“Arid, why did you become Master’s disciple?”
“Because I wanted to.”
Arid responded immediately, seemingly not having to think about it. But probably feeling that his answer was a bit lacking, he decided to add an explanation.
“There were probably many reasons. But the most important one was definitely the fact that I’ll never meet someone like Master again.”
“I felt that, if it was Master, I would be able to understand and learn how to use this power I was born with.”
Arid’s innate power was extraordinary. There were probably no more than five people throughout history who had been born with such a rare talent. And it was these special talents that stimulated people’s desires.
Although Arid could smile brightly and appear carefree, he had already been deeply scarred.
Nevertheless, he didn’t show it, instead choosing to move forward.
To be honest, it was a bit blinding.
‘What about me?’
Min Ha-rin asked herself.
What do I want to do?
Originally, her goal was to completely eradicate all the Demons in the world. She thought that if she could get rid of them, the peace from the past would be restored.
But after hearing Lukas’ story, she realised.
The road to peace was long and rough. In all honesty, she felt like it was something that was much too great for her to handle, which caused her to shrink in on herself.
She recalled the reason why Lukas had made her his first disciple.
Her Master was expecting to hear the answer to a question that even he couldn’t solve.
She felt burdened.
But at the same time, she didn’t want to disappoint him.
Perhaps that was the reason. The reason that she’d tried to deal with everything at the Korean Branch on her own.
And as a result, she had achieved absolutely nothing…
“And it might be a bit late, but I’d like to say thank you.”
“For my Grandfather.”
By grandfather… Did he mean Bishop Slei?
“In the end, he tried to protect me. You must have convinced him, didn’t you?”
“N-, no. I didn’t do anything. Your grandfather tried to protect you of his own free will.”
She meant it.
Min Ha-rin had even thought about killing Slei. If he had been indifferent after witnessing Arid be subject to unfair violence, she might have done it.
Arid shook his head slowly.
“That’s not possible… I know my Grandfather. He’s not the type of person who would change his mind just because he suffered a few setbacks.”
“I’m sure that Senior Sister did something to influence my Grandfather in some way. So for that… Thank you.”
After saying those words, Arid bowed to her.
“To be honest, I had almost begun to hate my Grandfather… But after seeing him at the end, I felt a lot better.”
Min Ha-rin listened to Arid’s thanks and suddenly thought about Leo. She now had two junior brothers who called her senior sister and listened to her.
But when she thought about them, and the way they had chosen to risk their lives without hesitation, she couldn’t help but feel that she wasn’t doing her job as a senior sister.
Maybe it was some other reason. Or maybe it was her pride as a senior sister.
‘It doesn’t matter.’
But regardless of what it was, what mattered was that her hesitation was now gone.
At the very least, Min Ha-rin had chosen to take full responsibility for her choices.
And one thing was clear.
If she didn’t participate this time, she would regret it for the rest of her life.
Of course, she was afraid of losing her life, of losing her soul.
This fear was made worse because she knew Lukas’ personality. Her Master would never lie to her. This battle would certainly be an incredibly difficult fight, and the risk of death would be high.
“I’ll go too.”
When Arid tilted his head at the sudden statement, Min Ha-rin repeated herself in a clear, determined voice.
“The qualifiers, I will participate as well.”