Dog’s Mouth. This was what ignorant b.a.s.t.a.r.ds called the 20th h.e.l.l. This place where rocks that melted into fire formed barriers was the site for a myth. This was what people often thought of as the entrance to h.e.l.l, the gate of h.e.l.l guarded by Cerberus.
“It is Ronove again?” The bleak voice heard in the great hall belonged to the 20th great demon, Eligos. It felt like winter was coming, but h.e.l.l had no winter.
“Yes… He lost his body and his castle was occupied.”
“I thought it would be different this time?”
Eligos sat on the throne in dark armor and the pressure he gave off was as fierce as a flame and as sharp as a blade. The vicious chill made all the demonkin tremble. An existence that gained the darkness that symbolized wickedness and evil.
The black knight Eligos who denied life. He was one of the strongest in h.e.l.l and death was the only path he walked. This was why he could reign as the master of Dog’s Mouth. There were many great demons who praised and wors.h.i.+pped Dog’s Mouth as the real h.e.l.l but all of them died without taking away Dog’s Mouth from the Black Knight.
“He disappointed me twice.”
The 27th great demon Ronove was greatly disgraced in the attack on the human world a few years ago. He said he would release red fog to create a plague in the human world but he returned as a rag. He had told the demons who mocked his ridiculous appearance that the reason for his defeat was the intervention of a small G.o.d.
A small G.o.d. The indigenous G.o.d of a particular region. They were very weak compared to the G.o.ds of Asgard but considering that most of a great demon’s power was sealed in the human world, Eligos turned a blind eye to Ronove’s defeat. He ignored it when Ronove still claimed to be his right arm.
It was a mistake. He should’ve killed Ronove. In h.e.l.l, not the human world, Ronove was defeated by humans and had his castle taken away.
“Don’t give Ronove a chance to be reborn.”
“That guy has tarnished the honor of the lord!” Eligos’ subordinates shouted.
Grrr. The cerberus also breathed roughly in what seemed to be agreement.
Eligos nodded. “Go and find Ronove’s soul. Then seal all the gates to the river. His soul will suffer forever.”
The reason why Dog’s Mouth was called the real h.e.l.l was because it was the gateway where the souls of the dead gathered. It was the place that was the background of a myth for a reason. There wasn’t an exaggeration in the rumor that Eligos’s authority was second to Baal.
Eligos frowned as he watched the hundreds of demons and demonkin leave to search for Ronove’s soul.
“Marbas will come soon…”
Marbas, who claimed to be a devoted servant of Yatan. He drifted through h.e.l.l in the name of Yatan and h.e.l.l, breeding demonkin and demonic creatures. The ignorant ones saw Marbas as h.e.l.l’s guardian but Eligos didn’t like Marbas very much. He questioned if Marbas’ power actually helped h.e.l.l.
Eligos remembered it clearly. Marbas had used his breeding power in every area where the former Demon Slayer, Alex appeared. He said he did it to get rid of Alex but what was the result? Every time Marbas used the power of breeding, Alex grew rapidly. He didn’t dare cross the Dog’s Mouth but in the end, he became strong enough to challenge Baal. It was truly a strange thing.
‘No matter how I think about it… I would rather Marbas not come.’
A world message popped up whenever a great demon was killed. If the great demon was killed in h.e.l.l then it even specifically stated this.
The world was in turmoil.
“Youngwoo-ssi, do you know the details of the three h.e.l.ls that have been cleansed in the past three days?”
“Did the Overgeared Guild finally start the h.e.l.l expedition?”
Hundreds of reporters surrounded s.h.i.+n Youngwoo as he came out of the house for a morning jog. There was a diversity of people. It might be a global era but the sight of so many foreigners gathered in a small city in South Korea was new.
‘I have to admit that reporters are diligent.’
The hundreds of reporters who kept asking questions had something in common. They spoke Korean directly instead of using a translator. The only difference was that some people were proficient while others were unfamiliar with it. They were trying in many ways to win more favor with Youngwoo.
‘I can speak English now.’
It happened after Jishuka moved to South Korea. Just as she studied Korean to communicate more with Youngwoo, Youngwoo also studied Portuguese and English. He was too busy to study it separately but he used the time when he was exercising or eating. Simple conversations soon became possible. As he gained various knowledge and studied in Satisfy, he felt familiar with the process of studying itself. His overall understanding also increased. Studies that weren’t easy no matter how he tried to wrap his head around it in the old days were now accomplished relatively easily.
Youngwoo’s gaze turned to the building next to his. He was looking at Jishuka’s penthouse. It had been a long time since he had spoken English and he missed her. Originally, Jishuka’s pattern of living was aligned with Youngwoo. She woke up when Youngwoo did, they shared meals and spent the same amount of time lying in the capsule. Even the time they went to bed was similar. He used to get a ‘good night’ message as he lay in bed.
Youngwoo’s heart hurt. Youngwoo liked Jishuka but he also liked Yura. They went on a date every weekend and feelings acc.u.mulated. He didn’t have the courage to reject Yura who publicly confessed as the world watched. His heart wanted to share love with two people but it wasn’t allowed. Perhaps it might be allowed when the sun rose from the west but for now, society would bury him… It would deal more damage to the two of them than to him.
“Um… The Overgeared Guild is currently doing the h.e.l.l expedition. We are aiming to occupy all the h.e.l.ls in the 20s during this schedule.”
“All the h.e.l.ls in the 20s…! If this succeeds then won’t the scale of h.e.l.l be greatly reduced?”
Youngwoo answered, “That won’t happen immediately. We don’t have the power to keep occupying them. They will soon be taken away by a new great demon.”
“It is hard to say that you don’t have the power. I recently heard a rumor that Zibal of the United States has joined the Overgeared Guild. Isn’t the power of the Overgeared Guild very full?”
“At the present time, h.e.l.l is a field that rankers can’t enter. Less than 10 people partic.i.p.ated in this expedition.”
“Hah… The difficulty of h.e.l.l is much higher than the experts predicted.”
“Well, the experts’ predictions are sometimes wrong.”
Laughter burst out from everywhere. For the past few years, experts from around the world have repeatedly tried to predict Grid and failed.
Questions and answers went back and forth in this more relaxed atmosphere. Youngwoo didn’t hide information about h.e.l.l. He wasn’t afraid of being harmed by the disclosure of information and he hoped that his information would be helpful to someone. Youngwoo was hoping for the overall growth of the players. He was seriously considering selling the Grid items that had previously only been sold to the Overgeared members to the outside world.
The enemy of humanity was too strong to dream of monopolizing them.
Grid’s interview where he said he raided the 28th, 27th and 26th h.e.l.ls with less than 10 people stimulated rankers around the world. A challenge was sprouting in the hearts of rankers. Of course, there were no fools who thought that h.e.l.l was easy. The people that Grid mentioned would include Piaro, Mercedes and Braham. Everyone in the world knew the reputations of Piaro, the farmer who had long defended the Overgeared Kingdom, the beautiful Mercedes who guarded the Overgeared Kingdom beside Grid, and the legendary great magician Braham.
“They are monsters who can complete the tasks of 10 people alone.”
“in my opinion, I think they are equivalent to 20 people. Have you forgotten the four heavenly kings of the Demon King’s Subjugation?”
“Compared to that time, the rankers have improved a lot. It is relatively common for people to have unique rated cla.s.ses.”
It was two years in real time and six years in Satisfy time. For high rankers, who weren’t ordinary rankers, six years was a time to achieve many things.
“Indeed, that is the case… Using simple calculations, 60 high rankers will have firepower similar to Grid’s part. 30 people can take the part of Piaro, Mercedes and Braham while the other 30 will take the share of Grid and the Overgeared Guild members.”
Players had felt the weakness of numbers in every great demon raid. No matter how many people were present, they were worse than the power of a single strong person. However, the high rankers had grown rapidly in recent years. They were reborn as strong people who put the concept of numbers to shame. At this point, if the great demons invaded the human world then they were certain they could damage the great demon without the power of the Overgeared Guild.
“Uh, I think 60 people is enough.”
“Gather people. Let us challenge h.e.l.l.”
A small number of high rankers started to gather people. There were many applicants. Who wouldn’t be greedy to raid the great demons who dropped the best rewards?
Grid’s interview about sweeping through h.e.l.l with only 10 people gave the rankers great hope. The problem was that no one knew how to enter h.e.l.l. Tarot, who was once a crony of Kir, said they would go to h.e.l.l after dying in the Blackening state but he was naturally ignored. Not everyone could use Blackening and it was too expensive to pay the admission fee with their lives.
“Gasp, gasp… I’m going crazy.”
Tenacity, obsession and reversals. They were Grid’s favorite words. He didn’t know how to give up. All the difficulties and adversities had been overcome through hard work. However, this time was an exception. It wasn’t at a level that could be overcome with effort.
“Don’t you think we should retreat?”
The castle of the 25th h.e.l.l was special. It was a castle larger than a mountain that was made of black crystals. From a distance, it was very mysterious and beautiful. Then once they came close up, it was horrible. It was because the cross-section of the crystals reflected and refracted light, causing motion sickness. Their balance was lost and nausea appeared. It was a physical problem that couldn’t be solved by abnormal status resistance.
Thanks to this, Grid’s party suffered. They weren’t able to exert their full strength due to their confused vision and mind. Sariel almost went berserk several times.
“Keuk! Retreat first!”
The cautious nature of 25th great demon Dantalion also played a part in hara.s.sing the party. Dantalion didn’t engage in a frontal war with Grid’s party. He used the refraction of light to deceive their eyes, repeatedly did surprise attacks and gnawed at the party’s health little by little. He used a variety of strategies and tactics as if to prove that the rumor he had all knowledge in the world was true. It felt dirty.
The longer the battle became, the more they were caught by their weaknesses. The hatchling, the incarnation of the seven malignant saints, the great magician who was a direct descendant and the legends of various fields…
Most of Grid’s party was covered with wounds. The only one who was fine was Nefelina. A flying spear flew toward Nefelina’s heart but it couldn’t pierce her skin and just fell to the ground…
“This isn’t an ordinary black crystal. I can’t fight back because it keeps scattering my magic power.” Nefelina touched the inner wall that reflected her figure and concluded it was meaningless to keep being stubborn. “We should retreat as Grid said.”
At this moment—
“”You can’t leave.””
A young boy, an old man, a young woman, a young man with big and bright eyes…
It was the appearance of a monster with various people’s faces looking in every direction. Every black crystal contained his bizarre appearance.
“”There has never been a single being who has come to my castle and survived. Your lives will end here. I will capture the hatchling alive to dissect and use as research material.””
The voices of the elderly, the young people and the boy overlapped. Every voice had a different way of speaking. Thus, it was hard to hear.
Grid used a sword dance. The inner wall made of black crystal caused confusion so he thought of breaking down the inner wall and escaping. However, once again, the skill wasn’t triggered.
[Your mana has scattered.]
[Your mana has scattered.]
[The skill activation is cancelled.]
This… it was really dangerous. He had no choice but to use his secret method. Grid made a decision and glanced at Yura.
Yura nodded and used a skill. “h.e.l.l Regulation!”
A jade light flooded out from her and cleaned the demonic power. The combination of Dantalion’s knowledge and the black crystals couldn’t resist the Demon Slayer.’s magic power. This allowed Grid to use his sword dances and the messengers to use their magic and skills. The huge castle shook like it was going to collapse. However, it didn’t collapse. The black crystals were hit by the magic and skills of Grid’s party but they weren’t greatly damaged. Rather, it threatened the party by reflecting back some magic and skills.
Dantalion’s faces in the black crystals started laughing. “”You still don’t understand? This castle is the strongest fortress in h.e.l.l and it was made of thousands of years of knowledge and skills. It is an absolute boundary that can’t be invaded by any power, status or mental image. It is impossible for all of you to survive here.””
Dantalion’s faces were talking excitedly only to suddenly harden like ice. It was because the black crystals, made of thousands of years of acc.u.mulated magic arts, were making eerie sounds. A cold sword of moonlight was reflected in the snowy sky…
The black crystals couldn’t reflect the light of the sword that neatly cut and cracked the wall made of black crystals. It was a sight that seemed to defy all providence.
“Open the path before I break it all down,” Grid threatened.
Of course, it was just a bluff. The Falling Moon Sword was a weapon that could only be used once every 10 minutes but the only person who knew this fact was Grid.
“”Go on your way.””
The bluff worked. The black crystals turned opaque and stopped reflecting and distorting the light.
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