There exists a race of humans, elves, and dwarves who have the divine protection of the light gods.
Though outnumbered, the demons’ individual powers were far stronger than the average human, for the demons had the blessing of darkness.
The two races divided the massive continent into east and west, and each side has been fighting with the other for thousands of years. However, the past 300 years have been unusually calm.
Part of this can be attributed to the rise of a more peaceful Demon King who replaced the previous ruler.
Intermittent conflicts existed, but they were negligible and the human race had become accustomed to the relative peace.
But that peace was broken by a new Demon King who ascended to the throne.
In the fifth month of the year 2826 on the Genesis Calendar, the demons began their assault on the humans in what would later be called the Great Invasion.
Showing no mercy, the demons were able to annihilate many countries controlled by the humans, who, at the time, were engaged in a civil conflict of their own..
The demons slaughtered anyone that resisted while those who surrendered were forced to enter the demons’ territory as prisoners. It goes without saying that none of them were able to return.
Of course, the human race didn’t just sit back and watch; they settled their differences and assembled an army of allied forces.
Under normal circumstances, they would have enough power to retaliate. Unfortunately, there was a struggle for power within the army and, being unable to cooperate, were crushed.
In the fourth month of the following year, the Empire of Garugan was destroyed. Losing the largest source of their armed forces, the humans had no choice but to engage in an assault that was considered by most to be nothing short of suicidal.
The plan was as follows: the survivors will be gathered charge recklessly into the main battalion of the demon forces, and draw their attention.
While the demons are distracted, the elite soldiers selected from the battalion will sneak into the demon castle, their stronghold, and eliminate the root of the ongoing chaos: the Demon King.
Though the odds of the human race winning were very low, they had no other option.
The gamble paid off. Though it was a costly victory, they were nonetheless able to triumph through the war.
The deepest floor of the castle is the king’s floor. For a floor located indoors, it was extraordinarily spacious and empty.
In fact, an entire town would fit in this empty floor.
If there was anything that stood out in all of this emptiness, it would be the altar in the center.
The intense battle that was being fought in front of the altar—the one in which the fate of the world depended on—had just finished.
There was only one person standing and that was Kyle, the magic swordsman of the human race.
Strapped up in silver armor, he had wounds scattered across his entire body.
His left arm was almost torn off and was of little use.
But Kyle stood there, cautiously watching the Demon King slump forward.
After he confirmed the incapacitation of the Demon King, he sat down on the ground, as if all of his energy had been drained.
“This is it…it’s over…”
The drawback of the demons being stronger individually was that they have a tendency to be self-centered.
Loosely banded together by a charismatic boss, they were nothing without their leader.
Many lives were lost in the battle, but the humans outnumbered the demons to begin with. Demon casualties were also great, so it was highly unlikely that they would invade again.
Even with a victory, Kyle was not happy. The sacrifices and losses were just too great.
He looked at his sword, or whatever part remained of it.
To Kyle, the sword was of significant sentimental value, but now, only the handle was left.
He stared at the tightly closed door that led outside.
His comrades who withheld the pursuing attackers and promised to catch up later never made it.
He looked at the Cane of the Tree of Life, laying on the floor in the distance.
It belonged to a shaman elf who had fought with him up to this point. She gave up her life to protect Kyle, and perished.
Remembering the last time she smiled, a tear rolled down his face.
All of the things he wanted to protect no longer existed: his hometown, his family, his friends, his comrades, and his love…were all lost.
There was neither joy nor satisfaction. There was only sadness, accompanied by a sense of solitude. Even his yearning for revenge, the only emotion that allowed Kyle to push this far, was gone.
The lacerations across his body, if left untreated, would be fatal, but even that didn’t bother him at this point.
Thinking that all he had to do was lie down and patiently wait for death, he did just that and gently closed his eyes.
If he proceeded to lose consciousness, everything would end there.
Was it coincidence? Or was it fate? The black feathers that were growing on the wings of the Demon King floated down and landed gently onto Kyle’s face.
As Kyle’s consciousness was on the verge of being devoured by the darkness, he woke up, and opened his eyes slightly. His eyes focused on one of the only noticeable things in the room: the altar.
There was a red light.
“What is that?”
Using what felt like every bit of his remaining energy, he sat up and dragged his limp body towards the altar.
The altar was decorated with a blood-red gem, the size of an infant’s clenched fist. The gem emitted a red light and seemed to pulse as it did so.
As a magician himself, Kyle knew the tremendous power stored within the gem.
“Could this be…a magic item?”
Magic items are what you’d expect them to be; a tool with a specific magic spell contained inside.
In retrospect, during the fight, there were numerous times when the Demon KIng deliberately received attacks that he could’ve easily evaded, as if he were protecting something.
This proved to be decisive in winning the battle.
“Is this what he was protecting the entire time?”
He suddenly recalled the Demon King looking at the altar in his final moments, instead of at Kyle, who dealt the fatal blow.
The light emitted from the gem was growing stronger. It was as if power of an unprecedented magnitude was trying to find its way out.
“Now that the Demon King is dead, has the magic in the stone become uncontrollable?”
It turns out the magic was still in the process of forming itself. Sooner or later it will explode, and cause mass destruction.
In hindsight, it is hard to justify Kyle’s actions.
Was he drawn by the beauty of the suspicious stone?
Or did he just want to die and be at peace quickly?
Either way, he simply grabbed the stone.
It was at that moment. There was a massive explosion of red light that instantly engulfed Kyle and his surroundings.
And then…Kyle knew nothing anymore.