Vulcan opened the SYSTEM window and checked what was just explained.
He could not believe that Balgeram was transcending.
However, there was no way Vulcan would have heard the notification wrong, and there was also no way that the SYSTEM would have delivered him wrong information.
Vulcan confirmed that what was written on the window had what he just heard. Unable to understand this, Vulcan muttered,
Vulcan thought about something.
It was a complaint that Belgeram muttered when it had not even been ten years since Vulcan started his grinding.
Vulcan clearly remembered his Belgeram’s voice, which was full of fury and resentment.
‘Ah. I just needed to hold out for another 250 years. I would have been able to complete the trial without problems and head to the Enlightened world. Just where did this crazy bastard crawl in from…’
Belgeram was a grand demon from the demon world who held the title of a Duke, yet he was going to the Enlightened World.
That made such a strong impression on Vulcan that he never forgot this despite the fact that it had been 50 years since he heard it.
Because Vulcan remembered this, he could not help but to find it strange to hear the notification saying Belegeram was going to transcend sooner than the original schedule.
‘First, I should go to the boss room quickly!’
Vulcan used both the Thunder God’s Might and Spirit Form to dash through the dungeon.
Along the way, a few Lava Demons roared and charged at Vulcan. However, using the Lightning Dragon Step just once was enough to put them behind him in the distance, making it impossible for them to catch up to Vulcan’s speed, so they were irrelevant.
Like that, almost instantaneously, Vulcan arrived at the repent room.
However, unlike before, Vulcan felt uneasy about kicking the door open and entering the room.
For some reason, Vulcan was feeling nervous. He gulped big time and opened the door with extreme caution.
As soon as Vulcan entered, he could feel blindingly bright yet warm light.
Vulcan confirmed the source of the light and lightly opened his mouth.
The one with bulging muscles and violent looking face, the Duke Demon Balgeram.
[Highest Enlightened God Belgeram]
‘… This is insane. He is over 920 Lv… I think he might be stronger than me now?’
Belgeram was exuding powerful aura of existence, more powerful than Hellmout who doped himself up to the limit. Belgeram looked so divine that Vulcan wondered if this really was the same Belgeram he knew.
Vulcan lost his mind for a moment and just stared at Belgeram’s appearance.
Vulcan suddenly got a grip and tried to quickly open the door and leave the repent room.
It was because he remembered that Balgeram have animosity toward him.
If it was just a month ago, Vulcan would not have felt threatened by Belgeram no matter what he did. However, now the table was turned.
To beat Balgeram, who was now Highest Enlightened God, Vulcan would have needed to resort to summoning Yur Dong-bin.
‘Absolutely not…! I went through so much trouble to collect those marbles!’
Vulcan was trying to escape before such bad situation unfolded.
However, that didn’t happen.
His voice was benevolent and soft.
However, the voice was powerful in its mysterious way of grabbing attention. Vulcan stopped himself from leaving the room and instead directed his gaze toward Belgeram.
Vulcan saw Balgeram’s clear eyes. There, Vulcan realized all of his worries were unnecessary.
‘Those are eyes of someone who has achieved spiritual enlightenment!’
He looked like a monk who achieved enlightenment after realizing the futility of all material things of the world.
Actually, Belgeram looked like a divine being who reached the supreme height. Belgeram looked at Vulcan and said in low voice,
Vulcan was about able to understand what Belgeram was saying. Vulcan blurred the end of his sentence as he asked back.
Belgeram smiled big and responded.
“… What are you talking about. All I had done so far was slicing and dicing…”
It was like doing horrible practical joke and getting praised for it. Like a little kid, Vulcan was stunned and didn’t know what to do.
Amused, Balgeram watched Vulcan’s reaction. Blegeram soon erased the smile from his face and said with serious look,
Afterwards, Belgeram muttered things that were incomprehensible even to Vulcan who was aided by the SYSTEM.
With each word, the aura behind him exuded brighter light. It even reached a point where the light was so bright that it was making the stone room look like it was exposed to a daylight.
Stunned, Vulcan was staring at Belgeram. Even Vulcan could no longer keep his eyes open properly. The light was that powerful.
In middle of that magnificent storm of light, Belgeram’s voice could be heard. The voice felt like it was being delivered to Vulcan through the heart.
With that as his last words, along with the light, Belgeram disappeared without a trace.
Lost for words, Vulcan just stood there at the repent room.
Notification sound could be heard at his ears.
[Barloc Belgeram, the boss monster of Lava Demon Cave, transcended.]
[The boss monster will not be regenerated anymore.]
“Hu… It really did happen. He really transcended.”
Vulcan muttered. He was not able to erase the shocked look on his face.
What he just witnessed was an incredibly rare sight. Vulcan thought he probably won’t see something like this ever again even if he lived for another several thousand years.
What he just saw left Vulcan with substantial shock.
All sorts of thoughts were jumbled up in chaos and disrupting his mind. Because of this, Vulcan was not able to come to his senses for a while.
He could not even get a feel for what to handle first.
However, of all the thoughts he had, it was only natural for one of them to stand out, and Vulcan’s thought gradually flowed toward in that direction.
“… Was I being a son of a bitch?”
With a calm look on his face, Belgeram said he had went through very trying time. He genuinely forgave Vulcan and left for the Enlightened World.
Thinking about it from philosophical view of life, as Vulcan thought more about it, the things he did to Belgeram felt more and more evil.
‘He kept on getting killed for several decades. The fact that he forgave me is amazing… No. Still, I’m a Player and he is a monster. Is there a reason for me to feel guilty… No. Still, did I go to far…’
Although Belgeram left, he still weighed heavy in a corner of Vulcan’s mind. However, Vulcan had another matter that was more important than this. To resolve that matter, Vulcan set aside the thoughts about Belgeram for a moment.
‘… I cannot come back to this place once I leave.’
Because Vulcan was so focused on Belgeram’s transcendence, he was not able to mind this other matter at the moment. However, this other matter was far more important to Vulcan.
The plan that Vulcan had just a moment ago was now riddled with problems.
Vulcan felt like a soldier whose retirement was canceled because a war broke out at his final year. Shocked by the strange twist of fate, Vulcan had a surprised look on his face. He thought for a while.
He was going to go out and take a break and come back.
He was not going to take a long vacation. He was really going to take a short break and come back right away. However, now, Vulcan could not even do that.
‘… Should I just stop this here?’
The thought lingered at his mind for a while. However, Vulcan shook his head hard and eradicated the thought.
Giving up one’s safety just because of boredom…
That was absolutely not acceptable.
‘If I do and end up regretting not having gathered enough Vitality Marbles, then that will be true Hell…’
If the situation led to that, there was only one place where Vulcan could safely gather the marbles. It was the Ancient Gang-shi Factory.
Vulcan imagined what his days would be like to stay there and hunt Poison and Blood Gang-shis.
It was absolutely horrible. It was giving him the creeps.
In the end, Vulcan put a lid on his plan for leaving the cave. Instead, he decided to complete the remaining 40 years straight and then leave.
Of course, just because Vulcan made up his mind, that didn’t mean he could get into it right away.
Instead of getting out of the boss room, Vulcan leaned on the repent room’s wall and muttered in depressed voice,
“… Still, let’s rest for the day.”
Vulcan felt that he needed a day to do some maintenance.
* * *
Time passed ceaselessly.
The time could be considered as a brief period for other residents of Act 2. However, to Vulcan, the life inside the Lava Demon Cave felt like the eternity.
Because Vulcan was still young when he was transported to the Rubel Continent, he never experienced the life at the mandatory military service in Korea. Vulcan wondered if this place was similar to the life at the military.
‘No. The mandatory military service is for two years. This is for 100 years. Ugh… Those bastards who complained about the tough life in military were feigning hardship.’
Holding out with such useless thoughts was only for a while.
Ten more years passed, and another ten years passed. When Vulcan was at the 80th year, he no longer had any thoughts.
He just killed the Lava Demons in front of his eyes, and he killed them again.
He collected the Vitality Marbles that they dropped. He picked them up again, and then again.
He repeated the same labor he was assigned to like an emotionless robot. He looked scarier than the monsters.
Like that, Vulcan continued the difficult work that seemed to have no end.
There was no joy in his face. His face was stiff like a wooden doll. However, after several decades, a change occurred on his face.
It was a very small change. Only those with very keen eyes for subtle changes would have noticed this. A very faint smile appeared Vulcan’s face.
As if smile was awkward for him, the tip of his lips struggled to tilt up.
However, it eventually spread to his entire face. Vulcan’s whole face was now brightened, and he started to laugh out loud.
“Haha. Hahahaha. Hahahahahahahahahaha!”
Vulcan even started to laugh loud enough to flood the entire cave.
He laughed like that for a long while before shouting a few words in even louder voice.
“I completed 100 years! Damn it! It’s over!”
At the same time, Vulcan’s surrounding was engulfed in violent flames and lightnings.
His emotions which piled up for several decades broke out like a burst open dam. Without Vulcan realizing, his mana also exploded out and cast various magic spells.
Having heard the sudden chaotic sounds, two Lava Demons approached Vulcan. However, the difference in strength was like from the ground to the sky.
The bastards got engulfed in the storm of magic and died before being able to put up a proper fight.
Afterwards, their corpses slowly disappeared and coughed out items. Vulcan unconsciously approached them and collected the Vitality Marbles.
‘Now, I can stop.’
Vulcan quickly came to his senses and tossed the marbles into the inventory as if he was disgusted by the sight.
Vulcan slapped his own cheek and criticized himself. He closed his eyes slowly to think about the difficult past.
‘It really was tough…’
It really was tough. Vulcan could not express it in words.
Including the years Vulcan spent here on the first visit, he spent 125 years inside the Lava Demon Cave.
Vulcan spent ¾ of his life here. He couldn’t even pretend to act tough and say that it was not bad.
In fact, when he was at 95th year, he pondered hard about if he should just leave.
The 100 years goal was an arbitrary one. It was not mandatory to fill it.
However, Vulcan chose not to leave.
Vulcan felt desperately anxious that leaving before reaching the goal was like losing to himself. Also, he was concerned about his resolve to endure the hardship that may come after this if he could not persevere in this ordeal.
In addition, having come this far, there was the determination and obsession about seeing through the goal. With all of these emotions combined, Vulcan used them as motivation and secured the goal of 100 years.
Vulcan achieved victory in the fight against himself.
‘Actually, I didn’t gain much here, but…’
Vulcan objectively assessed his own growth.
His level only rose by 34. He was currently at level 855. His Land-fold skill had not improved at all. It seemed he was not good at using Baloc’s Whip either.
Vulcan was the one who was showered with praises as the greatest genius in the history by The Six. Considering this fact, the result he achieved here through the labor could be considered rather modest.
However, Vulcan didn’t care about such.
He seriously didn’t mind it.
While enduring the trying times, Vulcan accumulated strong perseverance and patience.
That alone made the time spent here worth it for Vulcan.
Having thought this far, Vulcan quickly moved to get to the front of the Lava Demon Cave’s entrance.
“… I’m finally leaving here.”
He desperately wanted to leave this place all that time. However, thinking about he was never going to be able to come back here, Vulcan even felt a slight disappointment.
Of course. He was not thinking that seriously.
Vulcan peeked a smile and slowly left the Lava Demon Cave.
Through the 100 years grinding, Vulcan also completed the mental training in the process and became even tougher.
It was the moment of his re-emergence to the Act 2’s land.