Translator: EndlessFantasy Translation Editor: EndlessFantasy Translation
Ricky’s voice was coarse. He sounded as though his voice box was previously crushed, and had just been stitched back.
Ricky’s head returned to his neck. Thales felt his skin crawl watching it happen. The terrifying cut between his head and neck was still visible. His pale and bloodless face was seen above the cut, while bloodstains could still be spotted below the cut.
It looked as if the head was stitched back onto the body with invisible stitches.
“Who exactly are you…?” Zakriel found it difficult to believe his eyes. He stared at Ricky, who was engaged in a contest of strength with him. Zakriel refused to give up on cutting Ricky up with his axe. “What exactly are you?”
Ricky did not answer him directly. Crassus of the Disaster Swords merely chuckled with a smile so pale that it belonged only on the dead. The terrifying cut on his neck was still visible.
This caused many of the mercenaries under his leadership to become nervous. Josef even closed his eyes and turned away.
“I have to say, you are still the stronger one between us.” Ricky sounded weak, but his weak voice made him all the more eerie.
In the next second, Ricky, who terrified everyone by being resurrected, and because he was so strange, exerted strength into his arms. He lifted Zakriel up and threw him down heavily!
A loud noise echoed.
As Tardin yelled himself hoarse, Zakriel was thrown onto the floor like a lifeless sandbag. He twitched in pain and spat blood. Meanwhile, Ricky shook his head while grinning coldly. He pulled out the axe that was buried in his chest, and casually threw it onto the floor.
Thales was stupefied. ‘That man… Who exactly is he?…’
The terrifying scene where Giza put her head back on her body came to Thales’ head. He trembled in fear.
‘Is he really not… a Mystic?’
As the sound of the axe falling to the floor rose into the air, Zakriel tried to get to his feet while he trembled.
It was not known if it was because the injury he suffered was too serious, or whether his body was too weak, his arms only managed to support his body for a few seconds before they collapsed again and he fell down once more.
Thales breathed in and out dazedly. He had never seen saw Zakriel this weak. But what frightened him the most was…
Thales lifted his head as his blood ran cold. He saw Ricky tilt his neck, unaffected by what had happened. The terrifying cut on his neck gradually disappeared amid rustling sounds, and it was covered by newly regenerated skin. The two skin tones on the upper and lower layers slowly became the same.
Crackling sounds came from his chest. It sounded like the bone that was broken in two by the axe was resetting itself and getting healed.
He was healing.
“Fortunately, I always have one extra life compared to my opponent.” Under his subordinates and enemies’ fearful gazes, Ricky extended his hands, and straightened his collar and leather armor.
‘One extra life?’ Thales watched Ricky, flabbergasted.
“Oh, Sunset!” Barney Junior, who was usually tough, lost his calmness as he watched this scene.
“I know. It’s not fair, is it?” As he recovered visibly, Ricky smiled, shrugged, and dug out a broken axe fragment from his chest. “Welcome to the real world.”
Ricky inhaled deeply, as if he just learned how to breathe again. Then, he walked towards the dying Zakriel.
“No!!” Tardin and Bruley bellowed and ran forward.
Only Canon was guarding Thales by his side with bloodshot eyes. The latter found the situation unbelievable. Ricky chuckled lightly and picked up his longsword. The Disaster Swords gathered around him.
However, Zakriel suddenly shouted angrily as he lay on the floor, “Stop!!”
As though they were born to obey the voice, Tardin and Bruley instinctively stopped, but their emotions surged through them.
Zakriel coughed up blood painfully and said to them, “Do… your duty.”
Tardin and Bruley froze, feeling conflicted. They looked at their heavily wounded commanding officer before they looked at Thales behind them. The latter looked livid.
Beside Zakriel, Ricky cast them a look of interest.
“Ricky!” Samel stepped forward, glanced at the others indifferently, and said, “They are all outstanding warriors. They will come in handy. We… are short-handed.”
Ricky’s eyes sparkled as he stared at Samel. Samel did not avoid his gaze, and looked his usual self.
“Hmph.” Finally, Ricky snorted and nodded. “Of course. Capture them alive then.”
Thales was relieved. He let go of the dagger which he had clenched in his hand.
‘One extra life.’ Thales subconsciously repeated it. He still found the last scene unbelievable. ‘They can’t fight with brute force anymore. The mysteries about Ricky… are actually…’
At that moment…
“Who exactly are you?”
Ricky lowered his head.
Zakriel panted laboriously. He seemed to have exhausted whatever strength was left in him. The Knight of Judgment watched him, dazed.
“The second generation Blood Clansmen I saw recovered completely even when their hearts were damaged, or their backs were broken. I have also seen the terrifying orcs, who seem as if they were made of steel. They could still fight for hours even when they were severely wounded. I have also seen some rare Psionic Warriors and Powers of Eradication that healed mortal wounds in an extremely short time.”
Ricky raised his eyebrows. ‘This man has seen a lot.’
Zakriel trembled and breathed through his mouth. “But… you are not any of them.”
Ricky snorted lightly. It was not clear that meant he agreed with Zakriel’s statement. Zakriel coughed. His gaze was unfocused.
“And… your brain and head were damaged.” Clarity returned to his eyes, and his gaze turned resolute. “No. Under the circumstances, no matter how strong the immortals were, they would not have been able to withstand that injury. No matter how ferocious the orcs were, they would not have survived it. No matter how terrifying the Psionics and Powers of Eradication are, there is a limit to their abilities.”
Zakriel looked up while lying on the floor. His bloodshot eyes were fixed on Ricky, and he seemed determined to get an explanation.
Although Thales and the others were cautious and serious, they were filled with anticipation as they glanced at Ricky.
Ricky smiled. A strange expression appeared on his face. He seemed reminiscent.
“All kinds of miracles do exist in this world. And you are… only ignorant.” The resurrected man shook his head absentmindedly.
Zakriel coughed again. “Ignorant?” For some unknown reason, the Knight of Judgment chuckled. “There is only one way to prove it.”
In the next second, Zakriel suddenly extended his hand and picked up a torch left by a mercenary! Ricky’s expression changed.
Zakriel turned around. The torch flew straight towards the leader of Disaster Swords!
“You…” Ricky swatted the torch away but was struck by numerous sparks.
A few mercenaries charged forward and suppressed Zakriel—who was like an arrow at the end if its flight—on the floor firmly.
Thales felt surprised as he watched Zakriel’s move. ‘What is he doing?’
Surprisingly, Ricky’s body suddenly emitted countless balls of flames! It was like he was a torch that could be lit up easily.
“Ahhh!” Ricky roared and tried his best to extinguish the flames on his body. “What is this?”
Zakriel chuckled while he was suppressed on the floor by a few men.
“This-urgh… is oilcloth from the torch.” The Knight of Judgment bore a heavy kick from a mercenary, but he still insisted on finishing his words. “I stuffed some of it into your clothes, so your clothes caught the sparks easily.”
After a few seconds, Ricky finally extinguished the flames on his body, and he put his hands down. Smoke spread out from his body… But something happened at that moment.
When he finally saw Ricky’s face clearly, Thales cried out in surprise and took a step back. He was not the only one with such a reaction; the Royal Guards and many of the Disaster Swords were also shocked.
Ricky looked different now. Even though it was only a few seconds, but the parts where his skin was burned began to shed inch by inch, just like how paint flakes on a wall.
It was especially prominent on the left side of his face. Thales stared at the man before him in horror.
The skin on the left of Ricky’s face had disappeared. What replaced it were layers of black creases. They looked like muscles, but also like the veins of a leaf. As Ricky gritted his teeth, the layers quivered.
The skin over his left eye started to ‘peel off’ as well. All that was left were the same black muscle lines, and a terrifying eye brimming with a strange golden light.
It was not only his left face. His left shoulder, left abdomen, and his right hand… All the parts that were hit by the sparks or flames revealed pitch-black layers that squirmed as if they had a life of their own. The untouched parts on his body were still alright, like a normal human being.
When human skin and pitch-black muscles—the human and non-human parts—weaved together, they only made Ricky appeared all the more stranger.
Thales was at a loss for words. ‘What is this? What the f*ck is this?!’
Ricky looked like he had his human skin ripped off, and hidden underneath was a strange, yellow-eyed monster with an incredibly terrifying appearance. It had black muscles that were upturned, and were even squirming about.
“My god… Am I part of a horror story?” Quick Rope was stunned and speechless. Tardin subconsciously held him back and stopped him from speaking any further. Tardin himself was also shocked and bewildered.
Ricky trembled. His human side showed anger. As for the non-human side… Thales had no clue what it showed. The black-and-white monster shot a glance at the prince in the distance. His strange and terrifying face caused Thales to shake uncontrollably.
While he was next to him, Josef handed Ricky a hooded coat in a well-practiced manner. Thales could tell that the latter did so while forcing down his tremendous fear and disgust. The Disaster Swords around Ricky also subconsciously moved away from him.
Ricky put on the coat, used the hood to cover his half-human, half-monster face, and said, “I know…”
In that second, Thales had goosebumps!
He felt that when Ricky spoke, what came out of his mouth was a voice that was rough, dry, sharp, and screechy; like a blade being sharpened on a whetstone, like fingernails scratching a steel board. It was the voice that was heard only in every single person’s most fearsome nightmares.
He was not the only who thought so. Quick Rope had turned pale and subconsciously covered his ears!
It was unclear whether the nightmarish voice possessed some negative energy. As the voice traveled, everyone grew anxious.
The mercenaries near him moved away nervously. They wished they could stay as far as possible from their leader. They were so nervous that they forgot to stand guard against their enemies.
“I know I don’t look good now,” Ricky said coldly. Every syllable gave goosebumps to the people who listened to his words. Thales even felt his whole body shudder. “I need time to recover.”
Thales felt relieved when he finished speaking.
With his terrifying yellow left eye, and normal human right eye, Ricky coldly stared at Zakriel who was on the floor.
“As for you—” When Ricky spoke again, Thales genuinely felt that he was suffering in a horror story.
“Indeed, fire makes you reveal your true self.” The Knight of Judgment stared at his appearance, and he found it difficult to eliminate his surprise and bewilderment as he spoke.
Thales breathed a sigh of relief. He was thankful that Zakriel interrupted Ricky. The terrifying Ricky quivered a little and clenched his fists.
Zakriel looked straight at him, gritted his teeth, and pressed for an answer. “Say it. The man you serve… Is he one of the seven kings?”
Under the hood, Ricky’s exposed human pupil constricted! In that moment, many people were stunned, including Thales.
‘The seven kings? Hold on, Little Rascal, ahem, Saroma told me this before. The seven kings…’
Before Ricky gave any answer, Zakriel continued to speak loudly with his ferocious and determined voice, “What method did you use to show yourself in this world? Possession? Corrupting someone? Bewitching others? Or through violent invasion of a person’s body?”
Everyone was stunned. The peculiar and unfamiliar terms interrupted Thales’ train of thought and added to his confusion.
Perhaps it was because they were unable to catch up with the conversation, or they were too shocked after they came to understand the conversation, but many of them, Thales and the Royal Guards included, watched blankly as Zakriel and Ricky exchanged words.
A few seconds passed…
Finally, Ricky’s hood quivered. “You are indeed the Watchman of the Royal Guards. You do know a lot.”
The quivering voice that drew their fears rose again. Thales trembled subconsciously.
Zakriel stared at Ricky for a long time. Finally, the Knight of Judgment said,
“I see. I know what you are now.”
This time, the aggressive severity in his voice disappeared. Instead, there was a sense of solemness that was formed from a combination of reverence, astonishment, and wariness.
Ricky was slightly dumbfounded, then he laughed resignedly. His laughter made Thales wish he could cover his ears.
Ricky seemed to have realized something. “Ha. You have never seen it before, have you?”
As he bore with the torment to his ears, and the shock to his mind, Thales tried his best to understand what the man said.
Ricky looked up, and revealed a patch of the incredibly strange dark skin under his hood. Thales subconsciously looked away to avoid looking at him, as though he was afraid that Ricky would know he was looking at him.
Ricky’s terrifying voice started to grate against his ears again. “So, you were only testing me?”
Zakriel closed his eyes and nodded as if he was resigned to his fate. “But I am now sure that your kind exists.”
Ricky stared at him for a long while before he finally nodded. His human eye revealed admiration.
On the other side, Barney Junior could no longer hold himself back as he listened to the two men. He could not help but looked at Ricky with terror. Then, he looked at the Knight of Judgment. “Zakriel? What is going on?”
Zakriel let out a long breath. He turned to Thales and his old comrades. “…You should drop your weapons.”
After he spoke, the people on Thales’ side were shocked.
“Com-commanding officer?” Tardin tried to probe for an answer.
Zakriel shook his head. “There is no way we can defeat him. At the very least, we do not have the relevant weapons and tactics. We won’t make it.”
Ricky snorted faintly. His terrifying voice caused Thales to feel restless again.
“He…” Thales hesitated and glanced warily at Ricky, whose expression was cold and hid his terrifying voice and face under the hood. “What is he?”
Zakriel stayed quiet for a little while. His eyes swept over the others.
The people who knew, including the Disaster Swords, looked down, while the people who were in the dark revealed puzzled expressions on their faces.
“They are distant and imaginary legends, like the gods…”
Zakriel’s eyes were fixed on Ricky. As he was pressed down on the ground by two mercenaries, he breathed with great difficulty, gritted his teeth, and said, “But this kind of existence has been recorded by the watchmen of the past, and the kingdom’s Secret Intelligence Department. They appeared more than once in the history of the kingdom and even the Empire.”
‘This kind of… existence?’ Thales froze.
Zakriel sighed softly. He recited a description rhythmically,
“They feed on blood and flesh, and hunt for souls. They reveal themselves in flames, and vanish before the gods.”
Thales blinked. Zakriel’s words awakened a sense of familiarity. ‘… reveal themselves in flames… Vanish before the gods?
‘Indeed, this is the common language translated from the Ancient Empire’s language. This explains why it sounds peculiar.’
Thales frowned. “So he is…”
Zakriel shook his head. His gaze on Ricky turned warier. “No, it’s not a ‘he’.”
The Knight of Judgment changed the pronoun immediately, causing the people present to feel extremely fearful. “‘It’ is not a human being.”
‘It?’ With a peculiar fear within himself, Thales glanced at Ricky, who did not move under the hood.
In the next second, Zakriel employed his most mysterious and most nervous voice as he said, “It is from hell…”
In the strange and restless atmosphere, Ricky smiled under the hood, making him look like a monster. It was amused, and under everyone’s fearful gazes, it listened to the final words Zakriel said.
“It is a demon.”