The demonkin’s surprise attack wasn’t simple. Grid lost 30,000 health even though he knew and prepared for it in advance. The power of the hellfire that made Greed scream and the demonic energy that suppressed the essence of life clearly reminded him why this place was called hell.
‘If the material for the God Hands and my armor wasn’t Greed then it would’ve definitely melted. Then what is this?’
He didn’t see it incorrectly. Nefelina ‘inhaled’ this massive spell. She sucked in the demonkin’s magic like a hiker at the top of the mountain breathing air deep into his lungs. He lamented that Nefelina’s status window couldn’t be seen.
“The demonkin on the outskirts are weaker than I thought.” Nefelina poked the demonkin’s body with a stick she had picked up from somewhere. The bodies of the demonkin who were swept away by the fire she inhaled and breathed out again were either completely charred or scattering as ashes.
Grid asked between the soaring gray ash pillars, “How did you do that?”
“It isn’t a Breath. What magic... is it?”
Nefelina had the appearance of a 12 year old girl but her actual age was younger. They had been together for a long time and he even talked to her casually. Grid must be quite shocked based on the way his eyes grew larger and his words became polite.
“It isn’t magic. I just spat out what I ate.”
The trivial answer made Grid’s expression become serious. The ability to absorb something and release it with greater power, not just neutralize it. If this wasn’t Nefelina’s inherent ability but a ‘species characteristic’ of the dragons, then it meant that the dragon’s strength exceeded what Grid imagined.
Of course, it is well-known that the dragons were the strongest species in the world. The S.A Group had emphasized a few times that a dragon wasn’t a monster made to be killed. He even met with Gourmet Dragon Raiders in person and experienced his power.
Grid had no plans to challenge the dragons. It was just important to keep in mind in case he was caught up in the ‘whims of a dragon’ like with Raiders. What if? If a dragon really entered the Overgeared Kingdom one day...
Grid had to stop it. It was inevitable, unavoidable and inescapable. It was a deserved duty.
“You just ate and spat out magic... Is this a common ability of all dragons?”
“Yes. It is because dragons dominate the elements. It is beyond the level of a blessing. It is just that one dragon can’t dominate all elements. That... It is a concept of talent. It is easy to see from the color of the scales when you are born what elements you will dominate. For example, the red dragon Trauka can dominate fire, not water. Of course, he can’t dominate it but that doesn’t mean he is weak to it.”
“Based on your interpretation, the magic that Trauka can devour is limited to the fire attribute? Water attribute magic can’t be swallowed but this doesn’t mean he is weak to the water attribute?”
“Correct. Still, you can’t blindly believe in the color of the scales. It's easy for dragons to change the color of their scales.”
“I see...” It was fortunate. It seemed like he wouldn’t have to worry about Braham’s magic being useless every time. There was a good chance it would be invalidated but...
‘There isn’t a 100% chance that Braham will be a folding screen when fighting a dragon.’
He was already distressed by Braham becoming a folding screen every time he met an angel...
Grid was feeling relieved when he had a question. “Nefelina, are you actually a red dragon?”
"No, if I was a red dragon then I couldn’t have swallowed that murky fire.”
Nefelina’s blue hair turned black. “I am a black dragon. Black and gold dragons can dominate all the elements.”
“I am special just looking at my talent. This is why I am able to pledge to avenge Bunhelier.”
“I-I see. You are great.” The polite Grid once again sealed his mouth. He was happy to learn that his dragon was a genius dragon.
Nefelina turned her hair color back to blue, spread out her wings and looked around. “However, this place is strangely quiet. I don’t see ordinary demonic creatures.”
The demonic energy of hell was constantly being generated. It was normal for hell to be infested with demonic creatures and demonkin. Yet this place was still calm.
Grid asked Nefelina with a frown, “Was the reason you wanted to come to hell related to the demonic creatures?”
“The demonic creatures and demonkin are good food for me. The more demonic energy a black dragon absorbs, the harder their scales become. It is the same as a gold dragon getting harder when they eat minerals.”
“So the black dragon’s original home is hell?”
“No, it isn’t about a lair in hell. If I absorb too much demonic energy then I will be as evil as the bad dragon Bunhelier. Moreover, I can’t go between hell and the middle world at will so it is appropriate to visit in special cycles. This alone can alert the great demons and make them treat me like my father.”
‘Were both Bunhelier and Nevartan black dragons?’
He learned a lot of facts. The strangely talkative Nefelina made Grid proud. It felt good to be trusted.
“Nefelina, for you, I’ll succeed in subjugating the hells.”
“Don’t be flippant.”
Grid smiled brightly as he patted Nefelina’s head and started moving. Nefelina’s expression behind him wasn’t so bad.
The castle of the 10th great demon, Leraje. This was the final gateway to entering the heart of hell and was one of the most important strategic points in hell. Marbas frequently visited to check the defenses. He said, “I heard that you invited the Demon Slayer to the castle a while ago.”
“I called because she is notorious but I was disappointed.”
“So you saved her and sent her back?”
“Should I, King Leraje, have my hands stained with blood?”
“Haha, no. You shouldn’t do so. It is only when the small fries are handed over to small fries that the small fries will have a chance to grow.”
“That is what I mean.”
Marbas smiled while drinking and asked a new question, “It is said that the Demon Slayer was in a party. Who was with her?”
Marbas didn’t get rid of his smile but the eyes behind the wine glass were cold.
Leraje shrugged as she glimpsed his eyes reflected by the tableware. “I wasn’t interested. How can I remember an insignificant human being?”
Then a boring conversation ensued. Marbas maintained a gentle smile during the conversation while Leraje frowned with increasing arrogance. It was because she felt it was a bit like an interrogation. However, she couldn’t drive Marbas out of here just because she was upset.
Marbas was different from ordinary demons. He was born around the same time as the demons of the beginning and had existed for thousands of years. He suppressed his instincts and lived only by serving Yatan. He never competed with any other great demon and just managed hell. He thoroughly prevented hell from perishing before Yatan opened his eyes again.
He was acting on behalf of Baal. The man who received Yatan’s trust was called the last bastion of hell and he was an inviolable territory.
“An idle old man has taken up too much time.” The useless conversation was still in progress when Marbas got up from his seat, his silver necklace making a clinking sound. He placed a hat decorated with white feathers on his head and said goodbye with a smile. “I’ll be going. I’ll see you soon.”
“Don’t come back again.”
“Haha, don’t be heartless.”
“Bah.” Leraje scoffed and waved her hand, causing the door of the audience chamber to open. It was a command for the guest to leave.
Marbas left the castle after he was driven out and talked to himself while touching the necklace. ‘That child... I don’t feel any divinity or divine status.”
Leraje was accused of contacting an unidentified god who visited hell not long ago. Some senior great demons started suspecting her and they commissioned Marbas to investigate. It was difficult from Marbas’ perspective. If it was revealed that Leraje was conspiring behind the scenes, Marbas would have no choice but to kill her. However, Leraje was unexpectedly prudent. There were no traces of Beriache anywhere in the castle. in addition, the necklace and feathers of divine power didn’t detect anything.
“If it is true that Leraje contacted a god then she likely didn’t know that the other person was a god. I don’t have to doubt her at this stage.”
Marbas smiled as he lowered his hat and headed to deliver the facts to the familiars of the high level great demons.
Administrator Rabbit’s role was important so he always looked worried. He was worried that Grid would hate himself. This farewell was probably a way to ease the burden of his heart. On the surface, he said that Grid’s group was so fierce that he chased them here because he was worried they would cause an accident again.
‘I have to make the golden walnuts a priority.’
Rabbit’s fatigued appearance caused Lauel to feel worried.
‘I have to find him a successor quickly.’
There were many talents in the Overgeared Kingdom. There were even those at the level of a genius. Due to their work, the present Overgeared Kingdom existed but Lauel just recently realized the blind spot of this system. It was hard to find replacements. Just like no one could take over Lauel’s role, the talents in each field, including Administrator Rabbit, had been fighting alone for over 10 years. It was really difficult to find and cultivate talents so that these people could accept a successor with ease. Currently, it was best to use all types of elixirs to support existing talents.
“Are you okay?”
An hour and a half after Grid left, the last group finally crossed the hell gate. Lauel was deep in thought after seeing them off only to come to his senses by a sudden voice. He met Zibal’s gaze. Zibal's sword that blocked a monster’s claws was stopped in front of Lauel’s nose. Lauel laughed awkwardly as he watched the monster turn to ash. “I looked away for a moment. Thank you.”
“...What level are you?” Zibal and Lauel’s relationship was deep. As a representative of the United States, he was active several times in the National Competition. Before joining the Overgeared Guild, Lauel relied on the Seven Guilds. In other words, Zibal remembered that Lauel used to be one of the most promising talents. No matter how he looked at it, Lauel’s decline until he couldn’t even notice a monster’s surprise attack came as a major shock to Zibal.
Lauel answered, “I am... level 350. Haha, I’m ashamed.”
Was he a modern slave? Zibal imagined all sorts of things and was shocked again. Lauel looked at him in a meaningful manner.
He remembered that Zibal had been the leader of seven big guilds. He might be the chief culprit behind the alliance disbanding due to his greed but he was a charismatic and natural leader. After the collapse of the alliance, he matured a lot and consistently showed a good performance in the national competition. Even the high level US representatives recognized him as a leader. In addition, he obtained the grandmaster’s trust.
‘I will watch him carefully over the next few years.’
The southern province governor position that had been vacant for 10 years was likely to have found its master.
Zibal got goosebumps for some reason when he saw Lauel’s smiling appearance.