The Final Piece
It was during a relaxing afternoon.
Vulcan was sleeping until his body got all stretched out from having slept for so long. He suddenly got up and stretch-yawned.
It was a lazy sound that could have never come from Vulcan if this was Asgard.
It was one of examples that showed how idle and unguarded lifestyle Vulcan was leading here nowadays.
However, doing so was not causing any problems for Vulcan.
In this place, at Earth, there was no Bae Su Jin who had been chasing Vulcan with bloodshot eyes with desire to dissect him, and there were no Chimeras either. There were no monsters who attacked unprovoked either.
It was quite literally a perfect peace.
For Vulcan, who had a life that was stained in endless battles, it could be said that this was a vacation that came after several decades, although he was not exactly sitting around just playing and eating.
“Mr. Vulcan, we will be in your debt again today.”
“Um… All right.”
It had been 35 years since Vulcan left Earth and went to Asgard’s Act 2.
Seven long years had passed on Earth as well. However, that was too short of a period to rebuild the world that was destroyed by the Demon Force.
In particular, in South Korea, because this was where the Demon Force arrived first, the destruction was obviously most severe here. With most of the production systems lost, the people of South Korea could not help but to struggle in rebuilding the country.
Jun-ra county was the area that happened to have suffered relatively smaller destruction, so the rebuilding effort had been continuing with the county as the center. However, it could not be helped that the speed was going at a snail pace.
Frustrated himself, Vulcan started to help out by clearing debris of broken buildings. Before long, he started help out in the rebuild efforts in regular basis.
‘Honestly… All of these are for nothing, but…’
In the end, once Vulcan cleared Act 2, all of these were going to be resolved single handedly.
It could be said that all of these were utterly pointless. However, Vulcan was not so heartless that he would just watch the people working so hard on rebuilding the country.
“Oh, you are the best, Savior!”
“You got rid of so much of the rubbles at once…!”
“Please do not call me Savior. It’s really awkward for me to hear that.”
As he said that, Vulcan moved and collected the rubbles at an area that had no use for anything. He had an uncomfortable look on his face. However, he felt good about hearing it.
It had been so long since he heard Korean language.
Also, it had been so long since he heard acknowledgement and praise from the people of his home world.
Although the people here thought Vulcan must be an alien from another world, that didn’t matter to Vulcan.
To Vulcan, the hero who had been fighting the battles alone without anyone cheering for him for several decades, small praises and compliments like these were far more helpful to him than items dropped from killing monsters.
‘As I thought… People need to live with other people. I thought I got used to living by myself, but the sense of emotional security is vastly different.’
The fact that people were getting hope and able to smile from his actions…
They gave Vulcan a sense of fulfillment that was different from heading toward a greater height from slicing monsters and leveling up.
Of course, he was not spending the whole day on helping the rebuild efforts.
He helped out for an hour or two just for satisfaction. He spent most of the day training.
Sadly, the training was not very efficient.
It was not like there was anyone powerful here who could be his sparring partner. It was not like there was a good hunting ground here either.
Also, he couldn’t just use high level magic spells such as Thunder God Blade, Destructive Core or Ifrit’s Fist at will either.
‘Two or three of Infinite Flame Orbs would be enough to obliterate an area that’s the size of an elementary school’s soccer field… If I used those kind of magic spells…’
Vulcan feared that it may vaporize a country or a continent.
In the end, all he could do was meditating like Dokgo Hoo and studying or practicing techniques like the Land-Fold which didn’t damage Earth.
However, Vulcan didn’t like these either.
To start with, Vulcan was the type that worked best when he had opponents to fight.
Without any sense of urgency, meditating or practicing Land-Fold for hundred days didn’t lead to any improvement, not even by a rat’s poo size.
‘Also… I am certain now. I have no talent for techniques like the Land-Fold.’
Although Vulcan felt this since when he was at the Lava Demon Cave, he thought he had no talent for such techniques.
Because the Land-Fold was an incredible secret technique from the Blue Dragon, it did bring synergy effect to the battle. However, the full extent of the Land-Fold’s versatility was supposed to be far greater.
If Vulcan’s body worked well like he wanted with the technique, his combat strength could have doubled from before, however…
No matter how hard he practiced, Vulcan just could not use the Land-Fold at will like he could with other magic spells.
‘Even if I could just use the Land-Fold twice in a row, that would be incredibly helpful, but… Ugh… What’s the point of agonizing over this when it is not working. Let’s just rest and think of this as a vacation.’
It’s been six months since Vulcan arrived at Earth. In the end, Vulcan folded his thoughts on training or whatnot and had been resting absent-mindedly.
“Haha. Savior… No, Mr. Vulcan. Are you going to be lying around whole day again?”
“Ah… I think I’ll have to replenish the power spent on helping out on the rebuilding work, so…”
“I see… You have cleaned so much of the rubbles. I guess it cannot be helped that a lot of energy was spent.”
‘I am sorry. Actually, it is not really hard.’
It was just bothersome to do.
However, Vulcan could not let his thoughts known, so he made a haphazard excuse and sent way the leader of South Korea.
Like that, he went back to the thought he had been continuing for the past six months.
‘Bae Su Jin…’
Vulcan slightly cringed his face.
Thinking about it, Vulcan had escaped to Earth because of them.
He did deal a serious strike against the Bae Su Jin by summoning Yur Dong-bin, but that didn’t mean the bad blood between Vulcan and Bae Su Jin was over.
The cooling time for the Cross Dimensional Teleport Technique was one year. Five years would have passed by then in Asgard when Vulcan returns. He would have no choice but to continue fighting against Bae Su Jin until he clears Act 2.
This meant that Vulcan needed a power that could overwhelm Bae Su Jin. However, let alone overwhelm, Vulcan was going to be fortunate if he could afford to avoid being their prey.
He thought about Hellmout who he ran into six months ago and crumpled his face.
‘I am at level 820. That bastard was at level 829, but… I didn’t think I would be pushed back, yet…’
Vulcan was aware that he himself was not an ordinary 820 level warrior.
Vulcan possessed Hero-rate Demi-god power. He even had the high-quality version of the Blue Dragon’s Breath. Moreover, he was certain that the set of equipment he had was superior to what most had in Act 2.
Despite all that, Vulcan could not beat Hellmout.
Although it was just for a while, Vulcan was overwhelmed by the power that resulted from evil and bizarre methods unique to Bae Su Jin.
Of course, it probably was not like there were unlimited number of high level mages who appeared to be sacrifices. However, it felt like the overflowing confidence that Vulcan had ever since he became a Demi-god had been cut a little.
It was quite obvious that the other bosses in the Bae Su Jin, including their Commander, were able to bring out power beyond their levels.
‘Of course… You guys are not the only ones who can, but…’
If Bae Su Jin was resorting to such power, Vulcan also had a way.
Above all, the Cross Dimensional Teleportation Technique was confirmed to be able to break through the interference that Bae Su Jin spread against the return scroll. With that, Vulcan could say that his safety was about half guaranteed.
Vulcan used his hands as the pillow and lay down in comfortable position. He looked at the sky.
He put aside headache-inducing topics for a moment. This was a time of peace that came after a very long time, so instead, Vulcan decided to try putting effort into enjoying the moment.
Although this was not the intent, this was a real rest that came after many decades of hardship.
There was no need for Vulcan to stay in alert whole day and suffer while agonizing over things.
Vulcan slowly closed his eyes and try to take a nap.
Even in comparison to the inn at Espo City, a non-combat area, it felt far more peaceful and relaxing here.
* * *
Like that, Vulcan enjoyed peaceful life for five months.
Vulcan was slowly preparing his mind to go back to Act 2. However, something strange was detected in Vulcan’s senses.
Vulcan was at Earth for the past eleven months. It was an ominous sensation that he had not felt in the past eleven months, not even once.
Vulcan muttered words unconsciously.
“… What’s this?”
Vulcan got up right away.
He closed his eyes and focused to feel the energy that was agitating his senses.
It was hidden, but he could feel the energy of demons.
It was the kind that he could feel only from something like the demons from the Lava Demon Cave. It was ominous and horrifying. The sensation was giving Vulcan goosebumps on his entire body.
Vulcan quickly got out of the building.
“Uh? Mr. Vulcan. Where are you going all of sudden…”
“I don’t have the time. I’ll be gone for a bit.”
Vulcan activated the Thunder God’s Might. In powerful steps, Vulcan rushed to Seoul in maximum speed.
It seemed Vulcan was not satisfied with the speed. He even transformed into the Lightning Spirit Form and got to the destination as fast as he could.
Vulcan got to Seoul at an instant.
Vulcan disengaged the spirit form. He then looked around the area and confirmed nothing in particular changed. Vulcan sighed in relief.
‘Huuu. Looks like nothing big happened yet.’
However, Vulcan was certain about the situation that was about to explode soon.
He quickly got to the center of Seoul. He was trying to approach the portal that connected the demon’s world to the human’s world.
However, there were people who stopped him.
“This is a restricted area. Citizens are not allowed near this place.”
Vulcan mumbled vacantly.
He looked at the American soldiers standing in his way. Vulcan turned his gaze and looked at his own getup.
He was wearing jeans, running shoes and an ordinary t-shirt.
‘I can see why he didn’t recognize me.’
Vulcan opened the inventory and brought out the equipment set. He used the SYSTEM and equipped them all at once.
The scene that Vulcan created just now was like a clip from a superhero movie’s transformation footage. The two soldiers panicked.
“It’s you, the Savior. The… because of your clothes…”
“It’s all right. Where is your Commander?”
The auto translated voice came through the SYSTEM.
Vulcan heard their explanation for a moment. He moved quickly and got to the front of the dispatched unit’s Commander.
“Huk! Ah, Savior. It’s a great day, isn’t it?”
Vulcan appeared out of the blue like a ghost. Tom Logger, the one in charge of managing the portal, welcomed Vulcan.
Ever since Vulcan helped the humanity’s resistance and destroyed the Demon Force seven years ago, Tom had been a fervent fan of Vulcan, the brave warrior from another world.
So, when Vulcan occasionally came like this out of the blue and killed remnants of the Demon Force, Tom tried his best to make things as easy as possible for Vulcan.
“Hey, tell the entire dispatch this. Soon, it looks like the disgusting leftovers will pop out.”
Tom Logger ordered the adjunct and looked toward Vulcan with smiling face.
Whenever Vulcan came like this, small fry demons jumped out of the portal, so he was making preparations before it happened.
Grateful, Tom said to Vulcan,
“Haha. I cannot tell you in words just how confident we feel with having you always sensing the troubles before they happen and coming to warn us.”
It was not some meaningless formality. He was being sincere.
If it was like any other day, Vulcan would have responded with courtesy. However, the situation was a little different.
With stiff look on his face, Vulcan said to Tom Logger,
“Immediately, have all of your forces fall back. Get them as far away from here as possible.”
“… What do you mean by…”
Tom Logger didn’t quite understand what Vulcan was saying. He blurred the end of his sentence and looked at Vulcan’s face.
It had been almost one year since Vulcan came to Earth again. During that time, Vulcan had told Tom once or twice that the trouble to come could be a little dangerous.
When he said things like that, there really were more monsters than the usual that came pouring out of the portal. If Vulcan was not there, they could have suffered some casualties.
However, Vulcan never once said ‘fall back’ in such a serious tone before.
That fact made Tom panic, so that made Vulcan repeat it for the second time.
“I won’t say it again. We don’t have time. Hurry and have your forces fall back as much as you can.”
“… Yes, I understand.”
“I’ll help too.”
Tom Logger had many questions. However, he saw how serious Vulcan looked. Tom could not afford to just sit around and ask questions at the moment.
Aided by Vulcan’s magic, he quickly commanded the forces and finished preparation for the retreat. He also quickly had mechanized units such as tanks and armored vehicles to fall back as well.
However, despite Vulcan and Tom Logger’s quick responses, the trouble came exploding a tempo sooner.
Before all of the human’s forces could leave the place, the ground around the portal shook violently. Malevolent voice that nobody had experienced in Earth for the past seven years came to disrupt the ears of the people.
“Khuhahahahaha! I, the one who is beyond comparison to Nukuham, have arrived. Humans, prepare to serve me!”
Vulcan gulped and focused his gaze at the portal.
‘Here on Earth at least, I thought I would spend my days peacefully, yet…’
Vulcan thought that it seemed he was not destined for a comfortable life.