Five years passed again.
Through those years, Vulcan focused wholeheartedly on training the Destructive Core and Land-fold techniques. He was able to achieve decent results that weren’t too shabby.
In particular, for the Destructive Core, from the three years point, he achieved rapid development like a broken dam. Now, Vulcan could cast the Destructive Core as fast as the Ifrit’s Fist.
It was still too much for Vulcan to handle many of them at once. However, just one core was substantially more powerful and destructive than the highest level flame magic, so Vulcan didn’t have any complaints.
On the flip side, the Land-fold technique still had a long way to go.
The height that Vulcan wanted to reach with the Land-fold was being able to use it reactively and naturally whenever he needed it.
However, at the moment, he could use it only if he focused his mind to the extreme.
In other words, he couldn’t say the skill had been properly melted into his combat style.
‘Of course, even just that significantly boosts my combat potential.’
With the Land-fold technique, Vulcan could dodge the enemy’s most powerful and carefully developed attack, and he could do so without making any preparatory moves.
Also, Vulcan could fiercely counter attack immediately after the Land-fold.
With this pattern alone, he could end battles with ease that would have been difficult otherwise, and he could crush weak opponents even faster.
Vulcan closed his eyes and thought about the battle he just had.
He fought against two of the 800 level Lava Demons at the same time. Despite that, Vulcan maintained the upper hand. Thinking about the battle, he affirmed his resolve.
‘I gained everything I could possibly gain from here. It’s time to challenge the boss room.’
Vulcan’s current level was at 803.
It had been a long time since Vulcan went over the minimum level requirement required for the boss room.
Vulcan’s march toward greater heights entered stagnant period again. He didn’t gain many experience points either.
Vulcan no longer had any reason to stay in the Lava Demon Cave.
‘I’m not afraid of the Chimera bastards now.’
Step by step, Vulcan cut away the Lava Demons standing in his way toward the boss room and arrived there.
The scenery was about as boring as the entrance of the Lava Cave.
Vulcan thought there would be special engravings just like how it was with the Master Gang-shi. However, there weren’t any.
There was just the words ‘Repentance Room’ in big letters.
‘I don’t know what he is repenting right now, but he is going to attack me as soon as I enter, so what’s the point of this writing?’
Vulcan entered through the door as he thought about that, and he clicked his tongue as if he was disappointed by what came into his view.
‘How come the dungeon room designs are all same?’
Just like the Master Gang-shi’s boss room, the place was a round stone room with Baloc Belgeram in the center. He had huge and tough-looking body with two horns on his head in addition to a pair of wings. The demon looked like the engraving Vulcan saw before. He was greeting Vulcan while in the state of being sealed.
[Baloc Belgeram, the demon duke in middle of reflecting upon his sins]
The body below his neck was petrified like a gray stone. He was a grand demon. Belgeram slowly opened his mouth with a serious and dignified expression on his face.
- I am Barloc Belgeram, the grand demon from Elumhal, the 429th dimension. My infamy was widely known to the world in that dimension. I was born a treacherous and evil being. I treated life carelessly and…
As Vulcan thought, Belgeram recited the verbose lines of a bad guy just like the Master Gang-shi did.
Vulcan shook his body as if his body was shriveling and clicked his tongue even louder than the last time.
“Tsk. Tsk. Does that guy not get embarrassed from saying those lines?”
Vulcan belittled the demon.
Having heard what Vulcan just said, Belgeram suddenly stopped his speech and talked back to Vulcan with a melancholic look on his face.
- I also know it is tacky… However, it is an important process, so it cannot be helped…
“Uh… uh… I see we can actually communicate. I am… sorry…”
Vulcan never expected that a monster could respond to his words. Vulcan panicked.
At the stir of the moment, Vulcan even conveyed words of apology.
Belgeram silently watched Vulcan do all that. Afterwards, with even sadder look on his face, Belgeram quietly said,
- No. I can see why you would say that… Anyway, if I don’t say this to the very end, the seal won’t be undone, so… I’ll continue, all right?
“Ah… Yes. Please continue.”
- … I committed all kinds of evil. However, by the guidance of Rumithus, the great god of love, I have come to a profound realization. To repent for my past…
Vulcan tried his hardest to maintain a stoic expression on his face.
He thought it would be terribly rude of him to laugh. However, Vulcan also thought it would be wrong to look at Belgeram with sad, sympathetic face.
So, in order to not show any response, Vulcan repeatedly ticked a blameless piece of rock on the floor.
The situation was that a vicious, flame splashing battle was about to happen in about a minute.
However, Vulcan just could not focus.
- … However, I cannot turn away a warrior who came all this way through the perilous path to test one’s bravery and might. I shall become your opponent willingly.
Finally, the long procedure came to its end, and Baloc Belgeram was released from the seal. He slowly unhinged his body.
Having finished stretching his entire body, from the neck to the tip of his toes, he said with spirited voice,
“I can sense the smell of gods from you… Are you a Demi-god?”
"Ugh… Yes, I am… No. That’s right.”
Vulcan had been speaking respectfully toward this monster. Having realized this, Vulcan critiqued himself inside and changed the tone.
The whole thing was flowing in a weird direction, but regardless, Vulcan had to fight this demon with his life on the line.
Vulcan thought it would be odd to show any respect.
Belgeram looked at Vulcan with a face that said he didn’t care what Vulcan did. Belgeram merely spat out what he wanted to say.
“I see… You must be here to accumulate more exploits.”
‘I am here to beat a quest.’
That’s what he was thinking inside, but Vulcan decided to go along with Belgeram.
It was because Begeram was right to some extent about Vulcan having come here to accumulate more exploits.
“So, for how long are you just going to talk?”
“Hu… All right. I do not want to fight, but… it is my job, so it cannot be helped.”
It looked like Belgeram really hated doing this. He kept sighing as he summoned a flame whip.
The whip was droopy, and it seemed to be speaking for how Belgeram was feeling.
Vulcan just could not get used to this. He cringed a little.
‘Seriously, how could a demon hate fighting this much? Is he a pacifist?’
Belgeram’s attitude and behavior was making Vulcan look like an unwelcome guest causing ruckus on a peaceful dwelling of a man who was leading a quiet life.
Vulcan felt uncomfortable about this, but he brought out the Thunder God’s Might to burn away his hesitation and took a combat stance.
With his entire body wrapped in golden light, Vulcan floated a Destructive Core on the air.
Matching Vulcan’s stance, Belgeram also exuded a violent red aura.
Belgeram’s right hand, which held the whip, was swung in a large motion.
The battle commenced.
* * *
Baloc Belgeram really did not want to fight.
4,700 years ago, when he was first dragged here by Rumithus, Belgeram was a grand demon who was mad for slaughter and battle. However, he abandoned almost all of his evil ways. He was on his way to complete his preparation to be reborn.
He just needed to withstand 300 more years, and he would have been completely cleansed of his evil. He was going to be sent to the Enlightened World after that, and he was going to be able to spend the days in happy life of tranquility there.
So, when Vulcan, the first guest in a long time, came to visit him, Belgeram’s response could only be negative.
He just needed to be here for a while longer, and Belgeram wanted to spend that time peacefully while doing mental training instead.
Belgeram lightly crumpled his face.
‘Huuu. However, while I am in here to repent, I need to do the task I was given. It cannot be helped. The only thing I can do is ending this quickly…’
Belgeram didn’t like the idea of taking anyone’s life anymore. However, since he absolutely had to do this, he decided to end this quickly, so he used his most powerful techniques from the start.
Kwang Kwang Kwang!
Vulcan was stopping his incredibly powerful flame magic attacks using one hand with ease.
At the same time, Vulcan pressured Belgeram with his swordplay and by casting magic simultaneously. It threw Belgeram in confusion.
Belgeram raised his left hand to stop Vulcan’s Thunder God Blade.
However, because of the lighting that was turning his insides upside down in addition to the stun effects from the lighting shots, Belgeram was not able to move properly.
Using this gap in Belgeram’s defense, Vulcan quickly chained piercing attacks toward Belgeram. Watching Vulcan, Belgeram quickly cast magic.
There were five demons made of flames.
Belgeram poured out hell fire to keep Vulcan in check. He then quickly expanded his distance from Vulcan and swung his whip in a wide motion.
Tearing through the air at a fearsome speed, Belgeram’s attack came charging toward Vulcan.
If this was the lower dimension, a strike from Belgeram’s whip would have torn the land in half with its incredible destructive power. However, it was not enough to put an end to Vulcan’s breathing.
Vulcan had a Destructive Core ready and it was quickly launched, hitting the middle of the long whip. The flame whip was not able to withstand the huge impact and its summoning was forcibly disengaged.
Their fight came to a brief moment of exhaustion.
Belgeram, with a surprised face, thought about this as he watched Vulcan.
‘I let my guard down too much. I judged him by the appearance when I should not have. To think he is such a strong Demi-god…’
Vulcan’s appearance was not becoming of the image of Demi-gods that came to Belgeram’s mind. Vulcan’s physique was rather lacking, and his face didn’t have a striking look either.
Because of that, Belgeram thought Vulcan must be a wishy washy kind of Demi-god.
Usually, most of powerful Demi-gods looked the part.
However, Vulcan’s skills completely shattered Belgeram’s expectations. Belgeram could not stop being impressed.
It had been ages since Belgeram felt his blood boil like this.
After several thousand years of repenting and reflections upon his sins, his uncontrollable bloodlust and animosity could be eradicated. However, it seemed his desire for combat still remained.
Belgeram threw away his uninterested attitude from earlier. He instead preemptively used a certain kill move that he was most confident in.
Without any hint or predeceasing movements, Baloc Belgeram suddenly charged in.
Combining the power of duke demon’s incredible physical specs and explosive reactions from the flame beneath his feet resulted in a fearsome speed.
It was as violent as a giant red-hot cannonball.
That was not the end of it.
Belgeram was engulfed in fire just like how Vulcan was when he achieved SS rank in Fire Mastery.
It was as if the god of fire came down himself. Belegeram’s body was overflowing with heat.
Having maximized his firepower to the full potential, he crossed his arms in front of him.
He was going to charge at Vulcan and erase him from existence.
‘No matter how strong my resistance is to fire, he won’t be able to stop this!’
However, it was not like he could dodge it either.
It was a calculated attack that aimed precisely at a narrow chance.
‘If my opponent is letting the guard down even for just a little bit, he wouldn’t even be able to react to a certain kill move that came at him so suddenly like this.’
That’s what Belgeram was thinking. However, he was seriously mistaken.
Vulcan disappeared at a blink of an eye.
Not able to respond to it, Belgeram collided into the stone room’s wall.
The inside of the stone room was protected by the power of gods and fortified for intense combat. However, it seemed that was not enough to withstand Belgeram’s most powerful attack. The wall developed a huge crack and generated dust clouds.
Inside the dust cloud, unable to shake off the shock from the impact, Belgeram was faltering.
A ray of flash fell on Belgeram’s neck like the scythe of the grim reaper.
Belgeram’s head was cut clean. His head rolled on the floor.
However, it seemed the flame of light was not completely extinguished within him.
His face was full of curiosity. Belgeram asked Vulcan,
“How… How could you move like that? By any chance… Land-fold?”
“You recognized it.”
Having heard the answer, Belgeram’s eyes bulged, large enough to almost pop out of his eye sockets.
It was not a petty move like Blink.
Land-fold was the ability that was passed down only to high God Beasts’ lineage or exceptionally talented gods.
However, a mere Demi-god used this highest technique.
Belgeram could not believe it. He mumbled with the look of disbelief.
“Just how… Even as a Demi-god, this would not be easy to learn… No, even if a Demi-god wanted to, it should not be possible to learn…”
‘A Player can learn it by registering it as a skillbook.’
Vulcan politely answered it inside.
However, he didn’t say it out loud.
Vulcan slowly raised his blade and took a stance to strike down. Vulcan said to Belgeram,
“I feel guilty. Even if you died, you are not going to die, right? That is… You will be regenerated, right?”
“… My body is blessed by the highest god. Even if I died, I’ll be revived in a month.”
Vulcan threw away his hesitation and quickly swung down his blade.
Belgeram’s head was cut in half, and the sound of notification echoed in his ears.
[Your experience points went up.]
[You defeated an opponent who is stronger than you!][
[You achieved an exploit!]
[Your exploit points went up.]
[Hidden Quest – Defeat Baloc Belgeram, the boss monster of Lava Demon Cave, complete!]
[Please select your reward.]
“As always, this is pleasant to hear.”
Vulcan whistled and checked the rewards.
However, as soon as he did, he crumpled his face.
‘Ugh… This hidden quest’s rewards are all terrible…’
The skill was ice type magic, something that was far from his innate type. The items were all weapons.
Vulcan had strengthened the Heavenly Lightning Blade, so he found all of the reward weapons to be lacking.
‘It would have been better if they gave armor instead…’
It could not be helped.
After thinking about it for a while, Vulcan selected ‘A Bag of Vitality Marbles.’
A mountain of Vitality Marbles piled up. Watching it, Vulcan put up a gloomy face.
He knew that a hidden quest did not always result in a big score. However, he could not help but feel disappointed.
‘Also… If the quest reward itself is lackluster, then I’m afraid the boss monster might drop a lackluster item too…’
Vulcan had a bad feeling about this. He forced himself to suppress it and walked toward the item on the floor.
It was dark red upper body armor. It was exuding dark aura.
Vulcan didn’t have high expectations for this item. He checked the item and widened his eyes in surprise.
Dumbfounded, he mumbled by himself.
[Legendary Armor (Set Item) – Duke Demon’s Upper Body Armor]
[Level Limit: 800Lv]
[Mastery Limit: SS rank in Fire Mastery or higher]
Defensive power + 1087
Fire type resistance + 10%
Fire type skill’s attack power + 5%
*This armor is said to have been worn by an ancient great demon when he invaded the humanity. It demonstrates tough defensive power and fire resistance. Using just one of the armors by itself is not as powerful as another legendary armor, but when all five armors in the set are collected and worn together, the combined effect is quite superb.
“… Set items?”