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 Chapter 168 - Black Market Fourteenth Shopping (3)

"Uwhaaap!"

Blood Vengeance danced flashily every time Sungjin's arm and wrist moved.

"Kweeeh!"

The enemies that Blood Vengeance cut turned into pieces while shrieking. The dreaming Sungjin crossed his arms over his chest as he watched, though in reality since he was insubstantial he only felt like crossing his arms. However, the fight did not continue on for long.

The Sungjin who was swinging his sword was probably aware of it, but the Sungjin who was watching it could feel it even more clearly. This was due to the fact that the speed of the Blood Vengeance that was cutting through the enemies, and the movement of Sungjin who was dodging the enemies attacks was gradually getting slower.

'He's exhausted... Goodness...'

On the other hand, there were countless monsters flowing out of the portal created by the Demon King. Sungjin looked towards the main force that was fighting against the Demon King. According to Illich, in order to stop the portal, it was necessary to wound the king's body. However, the main force fighting against the Demon King was unable to attack due to desperately guarding against the Demon King's attacks.

'So this is why we couldn't end it...'

The enemies continued to spill forth from the portal. Unable to hold on, the past-Sungjin looked backwards as he shouted,

"Edward! Support fire here!"

When he heard his own voice, Sungjin thought,

'Now it's time for the climax.'

Sungjin looked at Edward. However, Edward's body did not face the portal but was turned in the complete opposite direction, towards where the tankers were fighting against the Demon King.

'... This bastard...'

Soon, Edward breathed in deeply as he began to chant a spell.

"The Divine Spear..."

The past Sungjin, even then, thought that Edward was using the spell in order to help him. However, at this time, Edward had already made up his mind to troll.

"Of destruction, Spear of God!"

An incredibly dense spear of energy appeared in Edward's hand as the spell finished. When Sungjin saw this, he thought,

'When I think about it after having reached this point, this is where it started to get weird. The spell itself is... called the Spear of God...'

The Spear of God was the highest class attack magic of the White Magic category. It was not something prepared for the subordinates bothering Sungjin, but a spell that was prepared for the Demon King. To use this on those subordinates was no different from using a cow-butchering knife to kill chickens. Of course, not that he used it like that.

Edward did not look towards where Sungjin was and threw the energy spear towards the very front where Demon King was fighting against Illich. Illich, having received a sneak attack from his back let out a cry of agony as he fell forward.

"Agh!"

The Demon King who had been trading blows with him did not miss the opportunity and instantly severed Illich's neck. Hildebrandt, who had been receiving the Demon King's attacks along with Illich, stared at Illich's headless body with an alarmed expression.

From the beginning, it had been difficult to defend with the two of them working together. Now that Illich died, it was natural for all of the pressure to be focused onto him. Hildebrandt urgently activated his Active Skill,

"Four Castle Walls!"

However, during this moment, another of Edward's spells came flying in and stabbed him.

"Firefly"

A will'o'wisp like blue fire came flying and burned Hildebrandt's back.

"Ugh!"

Hildebrandt relaxed his defensive stance a tiny bit under the intense pain. Again, the Demon King did not miss the presented opportunity. He used the black substance that covered his body as a sharp sword and stabbed it into Hildebrandt's body.

Afterwards, the black substance soon turned into several blades and puffed out of Hildebrandt's body like an explosion. Because of this, Hildebrandt turned into a human-shaped sea urchin and collapsed on the spot.

"Erase the..."

Mustafa, who was standing behind Hildebrandt, had been about to chant a healing spell but instead closed his mouth. This was because he quickly realized that Hildebrandt had died immediately. He immediately attempted to chant a different spell, but the Demon King was already upon him.

Now that it was a situation where there was not a single tank left to protect him, it was natural that Mustafa's body was sliced almost instantaneously. During all of this, Shunsuke drew back his bow unshaken as he said,

"Three Dragon's Arrow"

Soon, three dragons appeared from his bow and went flying towards the Demon King. However, the Demon King moved his black substance and reflected back the first, the second, and the third dragon. The three arrows that Shunsuke fired went back and pierced Shunsuke's left shoulder, his right thigh, and his heart.

Shunsuke collapsed while vomiting blood. It was now that the attackers who had been blocking the portals finally looked back. Nada and Araujo, Umkhuba and Ryushin, and Sungjin. The hunters who had been blocking the portal in three different sections, all of the attackers aside from Edward, were alarmed when they saw what happened.

But it was too late. The hunters that were closest to the pincer attack between the Demon King's forces and Edward were the first to die. The Sungjin inside the dream had a stupefied expression as he watched Edward. At the same time, the dreaming Sungjin quietly muttered,

'Just why?'

Soon, his past self also asked Edward,

"Just why?"

However, Edward did not say anything. The dreaming Sungjin ignored his past self and concentrated on Edward's expression. The corners of his mouth had definitely been slightly raised. Soon, the black substance of the Demon King covered Edward and instantaneously turned him into powder. The enemies that came out from the portal violently stabbed at Sungjin who was the only one left.

'Puk!'

It was unclear if he did or did not feel the pain, but he simply stayed standing there. Having felt the critical situation of its owner, Blood Vengeance began to cry alone.

'Kyeeeeeen'

*

"Ahhh!"

Sungjin rose from his bed with a shout. Despite having experienced it and dreamed about it already, Sungjin could not help but shout at the scene of his own death.

"Haa... Haa..."

After regaining his breath, Sungjin took off the eye-mask that he was wearing and put it down next to his pillow. Soon, cool sweat rolled down from his forehead. Sungjin wiped it off with his hand, then turned on the lamp next to the headboard.

'flick'

The room was brightened together with the sound of the lamp switch. He then looked out the window. It was still dark outside. Sungjin was about to ask the Operator Cube for the time, but the Operator began to speak first instead.

[Ringringringring. It is now 4 AM. Ringringringring]

It was the alarm to wake up to go to Darker than Black. Sungjin blankly stared at the cube for a moment.

'Now that I think about it... It said that I had to sleep for 7 hours... For me to have had that dream... It should mean that the amount of time was just right.'

"Operator, that's enough. I'm awake."

Turning off the alarm, Sungjin got up from the bed. After taking a simple shower, Sungjin left Ninety Nine Nights and, as always, breathed in the morning air as he walked towards Darker than Black. While walking, however, he felt that walking was a bit strange. This probably was because until just a short while ago he had moved around by floating in the air.

'It was incredibly vivid... Rather than calling it a dream... It was more like a type of... Revisitation to the past...'

Though he had already experienced it all before, he had felt as if he was seeing everything for another time. This was especially so because he was able to freely go see the things that he had not been able to see back then.

There were three things that he had seen inside the dream that had left a strong impression on him. First, was the fact that Edward had possessed the 'Ring of the Great Sage'. Second, was that Edward had a star-shaped accessory made from the rare gem which even a Dragon desired. Third, was that he truly had deliberately trolled on purpose.

However, with just that, it was a bit insufficient to answer Sungjin's question - why did Edward troll?

'I can't figure it out just with seeing it for one day... The circumstance surrounding it is unknown as well... Do I have to sleep another night...'

Sungjin found himself already standing before Darker than Black while he had been thinking about various things. Sungjin thought,

'Well... Since there's still tomorrow... Let's try it out tomorrow as well.'

He was just about to enter Darker than Black when Besgoro suddenly said,

'Hrm?'

Sungjin briefly stopped and asked,

"What? Besgoro."

'Strange.'

What was strange was that Besgoro had spoken up at all. This was because Besgoro normally was fearful of Darker than Black and its mysterious shop owner. This was why Besgoro never spoke up when they were near Darker than Black in spite of his chatty personality. However, this time, for the first time, he had opened his mouth.

"What's strange?"

Besgoro answered,

'The darkness... is shallow.'

"What is? Darker than Black?"

'That's right.'

Normally, Darker than Black was dark to the point that you could not see past your nose. The reason that Sungjin wore Besgoro, who hated coming here, was to use the helmet's Ghost Vision. Sungjin took off Besgoro and looked at Darker than Black with his own eyes.

What Besgoro said was true. The entrance was still dark, but it was not the blackness of the past that lacked even a single mote of light. Instead, it was just a darkness that was similar to the darkness that covered the other shops. Sungjin muttered as he went inside Darker than Black.

"What's this..."

'Creeeeak'

As always, the old wooden stairs were noisy. Finally, having entered the shop, Sungjin found one more thing that had changed; the shop owner was now standing next to the chair.

In truth, if this were a normal shop then this would not have been a noticeable detail. But this shop owner had always sat in his chair with his hands gathered while waiting for him. Seeing the shop owner standing, Sungjin felt strange.

When he looked closely, it was even stranger. The shop owner was standing while looking at an empty space. Feeling slightly terrified, Sungjin said,

"What... Why are you..."

The shop owner finally turned his head at Sungjin's words and said,

"Ahhh... So, you came."

It was as if he had been thinking about something else. The shop owner then gestured to the chair as he said,

"Please sit. It's time for business, right? Business."

When Sungjin sat down in the chair, the shop owner seated himself in the opposite chair. Sungjin held out just one marble towards the shop owner and said,

"Recharge."

The shop owner wordlessly charged the marble and then returned it to Sungjin.

"That's right. You met another Dragon."

There was another person who read his memories here. Sungjin wordlessly handed over his cube as he said,

"Give me elixirs. I need them."

"Hrm... Indeed."

The shop owner took out elixirs from his vest and handed them to Sungjin which he began to drink right away. However, at that moment the shop owner spoke up.

"You've worked hard until now. My business ends here."

"Mmph!"

Sungjin, who had been in the process of swallowing the elixirs, coughed in surprise.

"Wh... What?"

"I'm a being that exists to convey 'will'. I've accomplished my duty as of today, so I can no longer exist here."

When Sungjin tilted his head, the shop owner continued,

"The elixir that you just drank, that's the last of it. With that, you now have everything you need. You already had the determination, and now you obtained the power. It's time for the story to end."

"What do you mean..."

While Sungjin kept staring at the shop owner, the shop owner continued,

"I'm just saying that all requirements have been met."

"Requirements?"

While Sungjin held up an eyebrow, the shop owner quickly spoke,

"There's many things to say, but I can't say everything. Even though I look like this, I'm still a busy person. This job... How should I put it... Is simply like a part-time job."

It seemed that the shop owner did not have the intention of giving Sungjin an answer.

"Now it's time for farewell. It was fun to know you for the short time we had, Sungjin.

At the end of those words, the shop owner's body suddenly began to be covered by something dark. Sungjin stared at the shop owner in surprise, but at that time, the shop owner spoke up once more.

"Now that I think about it... There was something that I had received without payment. I must give something in exchange if I receive something..."

The shop owner suddenly extended his hand and pointed at the earring that Sungjin was wearing as he continued,

"When you have to choose one thing, choose that. The truth is always precious."

With those final words, the shop owner was assimilated into the darkness and disappeared from that spot as if he had dissipated into the surrounding darkness.

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