121. Dangerous Dinner
Jong Ho went to the level 38 dungeon, while I headed for the level 39 dungeon to hunt.
Roughly 10 days after the first clear, Jong Ho was able to clear the golem dungeon by himself.
The 2 skills beyond ranking he learned acted like a pair of wings for him.
His clear speed wasn’t that fast yet, but he was stacking stats at a rate that wasn’t possible anywhere else.
After all, he was able to obtain over 300 points worth of stats in a single day’s hunting.
On top of that, the amount of experience he obtained from the golems wasn’t anything small.
I spoke as we ended the hunting for the day and walked through the Warp back home.
“Hyung-nim. Should we just rest for a day tomorrow?”
“Hm… Should we do so? I guess we didn’t get to rest at all for over a month now. And tomorrow is Sunday to boot.”
“Yes. At this rate, I think I’m gonna die before we even get through the gate that leads to the demonic realm. Sleep, hunt, sleep, hunt. It’s not like we’re machines.”
“Now that I think about it, there are exactly 30 days left starting tomorrow. The date when the portal will open according to what the goblin Karin said…..”
“Yes. Time sure flies. But why are you saying that the moment I talk about resting! Making me feel all guilty.”
“I think I’m still lacking by far……. Do you think I’ll be able to do this properly?”
“Of course, hyung-nim. You already learned all the shields the warrior class could learn, and you have a massive amount of stats that you’re stacking.”
“I can’t help but have doubts that I’m still lacking….. I even wonder if I’m being a burden to you.”
“If that was the case, I wouldn’t have asked you to come with me in the first place. Don’t worry.”
“You’re right. I’ll do my best in the remaining time as well. What are you going to do tomorrow on your break?”
“Dunno. I’ll sleep till lunch. Eat. Watch some TV till…. Huh? What do I even do?”
“Your life is really boring.”
“What about you then, hyung? Do you have something to do?”
“I’ll pretend that I didn’t hear that.”
“I have to meet with Ms. So-Hyeon!”
“I can make it so that you won’t be able to walk all day tomorrow. Then I’ll use Status Denial to treat you exactly 24 hours after! So that you can hunt right away, that is.”
Jong Ho was keeping good relations with So-Hyeon, who he had met while he was trying to defend against the portal in Changwon.
Their ages were similar and so was their jobs, I guess? As they were both Awakened, they had a lot in common.
I wanted to kill him out of envy right now, but oh well. At least one of us should find love.
Some time ago, he came home heavily drunk, making a ruckus that I didn’t mind too much.
He said that he had found a family and someone he loves because he had met me.
I put up with his drunken slur and a smile full of happiness for awhile.
At the end though, he met a tragic end of being punched in the gut to be forcefully put to sleep by me.
“You’re under house arrest. You already met with her every day after hunting. Why are you making such a huge deal as if you haven’t met her in a long while?”
“My younger bro. Love is like that.”
“Let’s just go back to hunting. There’s no time to rest. We have to go to the demonic realm. We don’t have any time to spare on relaxing.”
“Hey! You’re saying two completely different things!”
“I’m joking. Go rest. Whether it’s dating or staying shut in at home, let’s do something else other than hunting for once.”
“If you don’t have anything to do tomorrow, do you want to meet Ms. So-Hyeon with me?”
“……. Why! Is it because that I don’t have a girlfriend myself that you assume I can’t take a hint? You really don’t know how to soften your words.”
“Oh. You can at least notice that? Pfft. I’m joking. Remember when you first met her?”
“She was incredibly guarded against you and jealous at the time, so she wasn’t able to properly greet you. She said that she didn’t want to be hated by you, my sibling of all people. You haven’t seen her since, right?”
“Sweet. Way too sweet. I do admit that the look she gave me back then was cold as ice. Why not just bring her over to our house? You could introduce her to mother.”
“To her? Hm…. Don’t you think it’s a little too early for that?”
“Who said that you had to marry her right away? It’s good to get to know each other. While we’re at it, let’s invite the commander and Mr. Ho Jin as well. All of us know each other at least to some degree. If it’s okay, we can even invite Mr. Ho Yeong as well.”
“Hey! You two lovebirds can go right away after you eat! Who said that I’m gonna hold you two hostage at the house?”
“Okay, okay. I’ll ask her first and let you know.”
“Ahh! Even after seeing your choice of clothing, how did she still think of dating you? Is she a saint of some kind?”
“I told you that the only one who bashes on my style is you though?”
“The opposite of love is apathy. The people around you ignored you as if you were thin air this entire time.”
“Whew….. Why are you talking back to your elders! Talking back!”
“Pfft. Hurry up and contact her already.”
We all planned to eat dinner together.
To us, it was a going to be a simple gathering for dinner.
However, to anyone else who knew us…
In a single house, the commander of the Association, the public world’s top dungeon clear record holder, and the private world’s top dungeon clear record holder were gathered for dinner.
They would see it as a gathering of the world’s strongest human weapons.
I made a joke to Jong Ho.
“I guess we can’t bring out alcohol at this dinner.”
“Why? The atmosphere won’t be good until at least everyone had a glass.”
“But what if we get into a fight during it. I think even the demons will be shaking in fear at the thought of that? We’re not exactly your average person. Thinking about it now, this is going to become quite the dangerous dinner if I invite everyone.”
“Haha! You know well something like that would never happen.”
“Hyung-nim. If you ever get married later, don’t get into an argument with your wife. That’s the day the world ends.”
“Hey. You think we’ll get into a physical fight?”
“Pfft. I wouldn’t know. But…..”
“Did you let her know that you’ll be leaving for the demonic realm?”
Jong Ho’s expression quickly darkened.
It seemed that he wasn’t able to reply at all.
However, it was the same for me.
I wasn’t able to tell my mother yet about it.
When I first told her that I’ll be working as an Awakened, she was the one to ask me what kind of a parent would send their children into a tiger’s den.
I was able to obtain her permission with great difficulty and now we’re able to enjoy a luxurious life. However, entering the demonic realm wasn’t something I could lightly approach to her about like I did with the previous subject.
From the issues regarding the radical faction to the high level portals exploding only in Korea, everything was revealed to the world in detail via the press.
The moment the corrupt officials and their lackeys that covered the eyes of the people were removed, people regained the right know.
Mother probably knows already about how many lives were lost and how dangerous this venture would be.
That’s why it was obvious that she’d be against it far more than before.
Jong Ho finally spoke up.
“Your…. Your mother doesn’t know yet, right?”
“Yes. Obviously, she’s going to be against it and will pointlessly worry.”
“What should we do…..”
“But we can’t keep it a secret forever. Disappearing without a word is far more cruel than causing them worry. And we don’t know how many days it’ll take for us to take care of business.”
“For now, I already spoke about it a little to the commander and Mr. Ho Jin. I asked them to keep silent about any detailed explanations regarding our planned venture into the demonic realm, but give enough of an explanation to not cause too much worrying.”
“Kind of like putting cold water on your body before entering chilling waters?”
“That’s right. At least for your girlfriend, you two have the same job and she knows to some degree about the current situation, so I don’t think it’ll be too difficult to convince her?”
“That’s why it’s a bigger problem.”
“I’m worried that she’ll say something like she’ll be coming with me. That’s what I’m really afraid of. She’s not the type of person to make such a rash decision, but still.”
“If that’s the case, the commander will take care of it. I heard that she used to follow the commander as if he was her father…….”
“Yep. He is someone that she looks up to the most. It’s the same case for other Awakened as well.”
“Even though we are taking a break today, I guess we’re not dedicating today solely on resting.”
“What do you mean?”
“We’re taking a break on hunting, but we’ll have to take care of another business.”
“Yes. And we’ll have to do in a manner that’s as natural and not shocking as possible. Like how water flows naturally. Reinforcements are arriving from each of the Association headquarters to assist us, so let’s do our best.”
“I guess this could be the worst dinner ever, as well as our final meal. What an important day it is.”
“Let’s exclude the final meal part. There’s still a month left.”
“Hey. Don’t be like that…. You’re saying that it won’t be our final meal because we still have time? If we didn’t have time, it would mean that it would really be our final meal.”
“Pfft. Enough of that and just focus on putting on a convincing act.”
“Make sure you’re not the one messing up.”
-knock knock knock
“Young master, the guests have arrived.”
“Yes, I understand.”
“I shall escort them to the living room.”
“Yes, thank you.”
“Here it comes.”
“Let’s go. To the most dangerous dinner on Earth.”
There were 30 days left before the gate would form.
While making sure that no one would notice, Berdan slowly increased his magical energy.
There weren’t that many ways to increase one’s strength in a world where magical energy was limited and one would have to make sure that they’re not discovered by the demon king.
The only thing he could do was to consume the monsters in his own territory in order to obtain magical energy.
Berdan butchered monsters that couldn’t even look up to meet his gaze one by one.
These lesser monsters that did not have any intelligence and only moved instinctively acted as if they had lost their survival instincts due to the absolute power standing before them.
At his call, the monsters willingly gave their own lives into his hands.
Right now, he was increasing his magical energy by the tiniest of amounts in his own territory.
Next, he was going to obtain highly concentrated magical energy from the humans.
If he obtained the magical energy from the leaderless Purian race and the remaining Dabehneh race, then proceeded to obtain all the magical energy of Earth via travel through dimensions, the demon king wouldn’t stand a chance against him.
It was at that moment when he was covered in purple blood by the continued butchering that it happened.
From far away, a Puppet Goblin similar to Karin was running towards him while out of breath.
Berdan acknowledged the existence of the goblins, but he did not give them much importance.
After arriving near him, the goblin spoke.
“Huff…. Huff….. Magnificent sir Berdan!”
“Huff…. D-Demon king! The demon king has arrived.”
“Demon king Jamon! The demon king has appeared here, in Keruoh!”
The moment he heard that, Berdan spat out the corpse of the monster from his massive mouth.
He made a face as if he had eaten something spoiled.
In his territory, where no one could enter without his permission, the demon king Jamon, who had the greatest magical energy in the demonic realm, was found trespassing.
To the demonic races of the demonic realm, it could only mean one thing if someone is found trespassing on their territory.
It was a declaration of war.
Berdan stared down at the Puppet Goblin as he spoke.
“You say it’s Jamon……”
“Yes….. Yes! Sir Berdan!”
“How many of them?”
“We leave for the castle. We must show hospitality for the demon king who will be overthrown soon.”
With a sinister smile, Berdan began to walk towards his castle.
He now understood that what Jamon wanted wasn’t war.