Why I Quit Being the Demon King Chapter 89

Why I Quit Being the Demon King

21. Saving the Chaos of the Sun Palace (1)

The party set up camp on the banks of the Tigris River.

It was then that Deus caught sight of a certain landscape.

There was a magnificent waterfall upstream of the Tigris River.

An enormous amount of water cascaded down from a cliff that seemed to have been carved straight down, about 200 meters high.

The shattered streams of water created mist,

Converging into the thunderous noise of a rainbow being struck down.

“What’s the name of that waterfall?”

Deus asked, turning to look at Scathul.

But Scathul’s expression was strange.

He too had been staring blankly at the waterfall before he finally spoke after a long silence.

“……There’s no such thing as a waterfall here.”

“Then what’s that?”

“It appears to have been formed by last night’s earthquake.”

“Is that possible?”

“Nature is terrifying.”

Deus gazed at the mountain range.

Something kept nagging at him, but he couldn’t quite grasp what it was.

“Well, whatever. Let’s eat breakfast and get moving right away.”

“Understood.”

The carriage galloped along the road again.

Zeke refrained from any more words of modesty.

The closer they got to the Sun Palace, the more unbearable his worry for his siblings became.

That ominous trembling in his heart began to take a concrete shape as they passed through the Tigris Highpass upstream of the Tigris River.

The river ran red.

It was definitely lava, flowing with heat and belching sulfuric fire.

There was no way a volcano existed in the Horse Mountains.

For 60,000 years, it had stood there gently, sometimes turning the passing wind into rain.

Apart from the rough Fangs Gorge and the Land of Giants, the Horse Mountains had been a peaceful haven for shepherds.

But…

If that which now spewed black smoke high into the sky wasn’t a volcano, then what the hell was it?

Deus bit his lip.

“Alex, you insane bastard.”

Hearing his muttered curse, Yulgum shook his head and sighed.

Today would be remembered as an exceptionally horrific day for Cadenza, an investigator of the Sun Palace and a Zodiac Knight. Without a doubt.

Oridon, the noisy colleague, and the investigation of the undead village were headache enough, but the sudden appearance of the monstrous creature was unfathomable.

“It wasn’t an ordinary earthquake, then.” Oridon remarked, twirling his bastard sword like a hand-and-a-half sword and clicking his tongue.

The Zodiac Knights, battling the creature, faced a giant of flame.

Composed of dark volcanic rock, the giant had joints filled with lava.

Everything it touched burned and melted.

The charred forest was mercilessly destroyed along with the eerie howls escaping it.

Cadenza furrowed her brows.

“What in the world is that?”

“You know as well as I do. Aren’t you the most learned of the Zodiac Knights?”

“I don’t trust my own knowledge because it shouldn’t exist here… That monster.”

“An ioan giant, right?”

“A demon of the netherworld. A monster that should exist in this world only once every hundred years by utilizing the Path of the Demon King!”

“What’s the use in knowing what it is? We have to destroy it first, don’t we?”

Cadenza bit her lip.

“Could the demonkind have broken the promise of the 666th century?”

“That so-called promise wasn’t made face to face, was it? We just think that way.”

Oridon spun his bastard sword round and round before leaping into the sky.

The Zodiac Knights were the strongest warriors of the human realm, exquisite in both swordplay and magic.

Though the ioan giant was said to be comparable to a dragon, the Zodiac Knights had no reason for fear.

Oridon’s sword whipped up a storm as it struck down the ioan giant.

Watching the scene amid a flood of thoughts, Cadenza let out a sigh and joined the battle.

“You’re right. We have to defeat it first. It is the duty of a warrior serving the gods.”

It wasn’t just Forbesby village.

The giant volcano had erupted right at the center of the Horse Continent, at the heart of the Horst Spine Mountain Range.

If it were a natural phenomenon, one could blame the gods, but this volcano’s nature was suspiciously out of place.

The ground crumbled, steam vented skyward, and numerous holes opened up.

Through those holes, monsters from the netherworld began to creep up.

The humans of the surface world called all these creatures of the netherworld “demonkind,” but strictly speaking, only the intelligent species were referred to as such.

Those wreaking havoc above ground were the monsters of the netherworld.

The demons sometimes wielded these monsters like livestock, but more often than not, they were as hostile to them as they were to humans.

Especially the creatures known as “monsters of the Sook,” which lived beyond the borders of the netherworld, were even a nuisance to the demons.

With a hammer-like long mane and a streamlined body reaching up to 20 meters,

The Sperm Hydra of the Sook was one such problematic creature.

Just by clumsily running and jumping, and slamming its entire body down, it had shattered a squad of more than ten soldiers, knights included.

“Block it! Shoot arrows, anything! If this place falls, the Sun Palace will be defenseless!”

The captain of the knights cried out in desperation echoing against the mountain base.

However, the skin of the Sperm Hydra was covered with thick scales.

Its shell-like carapace, reminiscent of barnacles, was even tough enough to deflect large ballista bolts.

The knights fighting against the Sperm Hydra were from the Sun Palace’s own cathedral order.

They were certainly not elite as the village guards, but they could not be compared to a typical village’s knights either.

Still, against the power of the Hydra, they were utterly helpless.

“Champion…”

The knight captain muttered.

The champions of the Sun Palace had been urgently called away to distant lands, leaving no Pure Bloods among the knights.

Even the captain himself, a Half Blood, knew well the insurmountable divide between Pure and Half.

Fear grew.

He wanted to flee.

If only he could somehow escape this, a comfortable life awaited.

It seemed there were no options other than death to confront that monster at this point.

It didn’t take long for the captain’s anxious thoughts to spread to the surrounding knights.

They all felt the same.

What difference would it make to defend these already crumbled walls?

There were hundreds of other knights besides me.

One more wouldn’t make much of a difference in the course of battle.

Not just the knights were stricken with fear.

Next to the knights were ordinary villagers, armed with nothing but a lance and his squire.

The terror they felt was incomparable to an armored knight’s.

It was a one-sided massacre by an indefeasible monster.

The Sperm Hydra was less an enemy and more a natural disaster.

Like the volcano that had erupted.

Like the occasional typhoons and torrential rains.

The proper human stance against a disaster should be submission, not resistance.

“Retreating now may be… the strategically correct decision, don’t you think?” cautiously opined the knights’ magician.

The knight captain erupted in anger.

“Look here. If we retreat, who shall defend the city walls of Neuekan?”

Neuekan was the name of the city where the Sun Palace was located.

Though he raged in fiery temper, it was but the prickle of an uncomfortable truth that spurred his anger.

The knight captain wanted to retreat just as badly.

He must have had a champion among his distant ancestors, since he was a Half Blood. He prayed again and again to that unknown ancestor.

For just a small ounce of courage. And if that weren’t possible, for a champion to be sent!

Boom!

An explosion erupted on the head of the Sperm Hydra.

It was dark magic, but there was no evil presence.

As everyone realized, a young boy was there.

He wore a black armor tinged with blue, and his hand held a blue sword.

Fourteen or fifteen years old, perhaps?

He wasn’t large in stature. There was no sense of intimidation.

But…

The moment he appeared, the entire atmosphere changed.

“Champion Zeke von Holybiche! Trust in me and hold your positions!”

His cry of valor spread and resonated with the people.

And courage amplified in resonance.

The rabble, once waiting for death, was no longer such, confronting their demise as brave warriors.

It hadn’t taken long.

The knights shouted, and the soldiers readjusted their lance grips.

The knight captain offered a prayer of thanks to the gods.

When his eyes opened again, any hint of defeatism previously lingering was completely vanished.

The warriors stood boldly against the monsters of the netherworld.

From afar, atop the carriage, Deus whistled.

“Ho, is that the power of a champion?”

“The giver of courage. That’s the very definition of a champion’s name.”

Yulgum responded, leaning her arm on the window sill, to Deus’s words.

The servants Sadimus and Scathul had infiltrated the knights to secretly aid Zeke.

After all, the champion was meant to stand out.

Deus and Yulgum stayed back to watch the situation unfold.

Deus saw the Sperm Hydra.

“To summon the monster of the Sook now. Alex, you bastard, once you return, you’ll be permanently expelled from the magicians’ guild.”

“You refer to it as a monster of the Sook.”

“Huh? Ah, damn, you seem to know quite a bit about the netherworld, don’t you?”

“Not really. Since the 666th century, all paths to the netherworld were sealed.”

“Were they open before that?”

“In the Age of Silver.”

“So, it was demonkind that brought about the Age of Chaos?”

“Seems about right.”

“And knowing about these monsters of the Sook means they’ve been around since the Age of Silver?”

“That’s not a monster.”

“Hmm?”

“It’s a whale. A sperm whale that was once called by the sea.”

“The sea? That thing bouncing around?”

“It’s evolved for over 70,000 years so that its front fins have turned into legs. But still, its basic form doesn’t fit on land. It’s too fat, and the body is streamlined, with no hind legs.”

“Are you saying it really lived in the sea? Then why does it bounce around on land like crazy?”

“Because of the Sook.”

“What’s the Sook?”

“You said it yourself. The monster of the Sook.”

“That’s just because everyone calls it that. What exactly is the Sook?”

“It caused the destruction of the Age of Gold.”

“The Age of Gold? Are we talking that far back?”

Deus recalled his recent visit to the land of the short coal miners.

There, Yulgum had activated a machine that was claimed to be a relic from the Age of Gold.

“The Age of Gold. The name sounds grand, but even then, humans failed to find balance.”

“What balance?”

“The way not to perish.”

“You’re saying they perished because of the Sook?”

“The Sook is the remnant of a weapon created in that era. It seemed to be headed in the right direction at first. With weapons sealed and armies reduced, the threat of war was lowered. But it only took one or two madmen for destruction to come all too easily.”

“They unleashed the sealed weapons? That’s the Sook?”

“They say it takes a thousand centuries for the toxicity to diminish.”

“100,000 years?”

“War… wasn’t it about taking over the enemy’s land?”

“Right.”

“And yet they used a weapon that rendered the land useless for 100,000 years?”

“Humans are endlessly foolish creatures. It’s not unreasonable that the gods drew such a conclusion. Erasing the possibility for growth that leads to the Sook’s weapons, the gods instead gifted magic to mankind.”

“And that’s what you call the Age of Silver?”

Yulgum nodded slightly.



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