The Novel's Villain - Chapter 73
19. First Impressions and First Greetings (1)
The dimension observer and prophet Callarice was a demon that even the Demon King respected. Callarice observed other dimensions and reported the news. Not only that, but she also predicted events ranging from massive occurrences that would shake the Demon Realm to even the trivial future of the high-ranking demons. Callarice’s prophecy was very helpful for maintaining peace in the Demon Realm.
She wore an eye patch that sealed out the light forever, and her body was wrapped in red cloth. She restrained herself to increase her observational and foresight abilities. A high-ranking demon from each area of Demon Realm sat politely in front of Callarice.
Callarice tossed and turned her body in agony. Callarice’s nerves were all focused on the Emperor of Gold. It was when Callarice consumed a great deal of mental power and concentrated her mind that she finally saw something.
Blood gushed out of Callarice’s mouth.
“Are you all right?”
A prophecy had come out! Callarice jumped to her feet, her bondage released at once.
“Who is it? Don’t tell me?!”
The high-ranking demons immediately realized it: the Emperor of Gold was coming!
“The sun disappears, and black darkness engulfs.”
The high-ranking demons gulped and dictated her prophecies.
“The wall collapses just by the gesture, and a black meteorite that cuts through the sky will fall and destroy the castle and the mountains.”
It was a shocking prophecy.
“Only he stands alone in the nothingness. Cough!”
Callarice, vomiting blood, took off her eyepatch. She flopped and sat down on the floor, drenched in a cold sweat.
“A meteorite with just a gesture…”
“The wickedness that raises and throws the World Tree…and that mighty power…”
The high-ranking demons started running to their respective estates with the prophecy. It was an emergency.
The prophecy of the evil’s arrival.
* * *
If people had to pick the hottest person in the news right now, it would be Jin-woo. Just two years ago, he was just a reckless and hopeless third-generation heir to a conglomerate, but now he was called a hero. He wasn’t an ordinary hero, either. He was such a hero whose pictures and videos all looked like movies. It wasn’t just the concept of being cool.
The Emperor of Gold was too great to be simply included in the word cool.
For men, Jin-woo evoked admiration, respect, and a feeling that boiled in the heart. It was similar to the feeling they had when they saw Mobile Suit Robot when they were young. The effects it had on the opposite sex were also startling. A fan club was officially created only for Knights, League Guild members, and celebrities. Interestingly, the male to female ratio was exactly half and half as if measured with a scale.
Thanks to that, his Honor rank was steadily coming up. There was still a long way to go, but it seemed that he could break the ordeal left by the Emperor of Greed sooner than expected. Currently, the Earth people that Jin-woo could certainly trust were Yoo-na and General Manager. It was a little tiring when it came to General Manager, but he had the best ability.
“Once again, congratulations on your resurrection!”
“It’s not like that…”
Jin-woo told the General Manager about what he had been doing so far.
“Ugh! Master seems to be conquering dimensions. I wasn’t good enough. I expected the grand plan that Master had devised in my way, but with my poor knowledge and intelligence, I couldn’t…”
“It wasn’t a conquest. It happened by chance.”
“Indeed! Even when you just thought to do that, they must know whom to obey. Well! The elves seem to have a concept of their place.”
As expected, it was so tiring with the General Manager. It looked like he had filters installed in both ears. Yoo-na laughed when Jin-woo let out a small sigh.
“I think you’d better let it slide.”
Any further explanation would only make the situation worse. What Jin-woo wanted to entrust to the General Manager was the education of the elves. Although the radius of activity was about the area under the jurisdiction of JW Gate, education was essential as it was clear that they would meet with people. The General Manager had no match as an educator.
“I’m so flattered that you’ve given me such an important task.”
Yoo-na also said she would watch, so there would be no big problems. That was how the elf artisans were secretly injected with basic common sense. In addition, Heo-young was also included. Anyway, since the General Manager and Yoo-na were managing it, it wouldn’t be a problem if he left it to them. Jin-woo didn’t have much to worry about when it came to Elonti Entertainment. They had a good manager, and the Future Strategy Office was helping them.
If it failed, it would just fail. If it grew, it would just grow. It was convenient for Jin-woo to leave it and go back to his own business.
“Do you have any plans?”
Yoo-na asked. Jin-woo nodded. He had already decided what he had to do.
“For now, I need to become a Knight.”
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He had to be a Knight for the next step. The process was surprisingly easy by this point.
Jin-woo exhaled a long breath and shook his head. He had rested enough.
Let’s jump back into the damn original story.
The Korean Knights were famous for being the most demanding as there were political issues that were separate from their abilities. It was different from the A-Rank License test. Rather than evaluating the group, each individual had their qualification. If three incumbent high-ranking Knights gave you a task or mission and you completed them, you could qualify as a Knight after the evaluation.
The problem was the factions.
It was a force created by seven high-ranking Knights, called the Korean Legends. It could be broadly divided into hard-liner groups and moderate groups, which weren’t necessary to know. By becoming a high-ranking Knight, one was able to defend himself to some extent from the influence of the Frontline Group as they would have a connection with the International Federation of Competent People.
The International Federation of Competent People had a good relationship with the Frontline Group, so there was no reason to brush with each other.
The original protagonist didn’t want to belong to any faction for the sake of justice. That was why he obtained knighthood through a different route.
“Not this year, as expected.”
Because the international competition was being held this year, the Association wouldn’t accept applications for Knight review. The international competition was a small war over a total of eleven International Water Gates. Each had a significant impact on national power because they were rich in unknown resources and items.
Currently, Korea owned two International Waters Gates, Japan had one, and the rest was shared between the U.S. and Europe.
“The Knight’s graveyard and a festival for the citizens…”
That was how it was described in the original novel.
Anyway, he had to become a Knight, but he couldn’t apply for a review. He could have personally contacted a high-ranking Knight of the moderate or hard-liners and proceeded with the review regardless, though. If Jin-woo, who was popular enough to surpass a Knight even though he was a Semi-Knight, applied for it, he would be contacted immediately. However, there was the hassle of having to select a faction.
‘The factions are a bit too much.’
He didn’t want to be tied up in such a place. Fortunately, Jin-woo knew the way. If he couldn’t get it from the Korean Association of Competent People, he could get it directly from the Federation. Technically, the top organization body of the Association was the International Federation of Competent Persons. This was because the top Knights of the Association participate in regular meetings as Federation members.
The top Knight of the Korean Association was the swordsman Lee Jin-man. He was a direct junior of the Sword Master and a pretty decent person. Since Choi Family’s Sword School had a partnership with Jin-woo, the Sword Master was also on par with him.
So what about Lee Jin-man, the junior of Sword Master? Since he was said to be the president of the Association, Jin-woo didn’t need to be cautious.
‘The Sword Master could be helpful.’
He was usually not useful, but he seemed to be valuable this time. The high-ranking Knights of the Association thoroughly followed lineage and such, which meant, in a way, that they were a bit outdated.
‘The main character is…’
He needed a knighthood to formally challenge Wang Guo Liang. Luckily, he was able to qualify as a Knight thanks to Tang Xiao Zhen’s help.
‘She’s smart, but…’
Tang Xiao Zhen was a bit out of place on her own, perhaps because she had a strong opinion. She was nice, but she was often called annoying because of the world she lived in. Wasn’t there such a heroine?
She was a heroine who grumbled and tackled everything the main character did and grew involved in every case because of her strong assertion. A heroine who was cursed a lot even though there was no malice behind her actions. Unfortunately, Tang Xiao Zhen was just in that position. However, that part helped Jin-woo. Currently, G&P has a groundbreaking sales record, thanks to the export of Magic Crystals.
G&P signed a contract directly with the Tang Family of Sichuan, and now the real power in China was theirs to hold. It now wielded power, giving money to Jin-woo.
Well, that was a good thing.
Jin-woo looked up the information he wanted on the Federation’s website.
“Here you are. The challenges for competent people.”
Gate characters, interpretation of magic spells, and similar problems that weren’t yet solved in each field. If he solved the things that Tang Xiao Zhen and the main character worked on together, the Federation would contact him. Jin-woo would receive a first-class medal, meaning he would be qualified enough as a Knight.
Jin-woo looked at the challenges involving Gate characters and magic spells. He might as well solve them all.
It was easy for the Emperor of Gold. Jin-woo quickly wrote the solutions to the challenges. Each question required three hundred pages, more than what the main character and Tang Xiao Zhen did. He signed it as Lee Jin-woo and sent it to the Federation immediately.
“It’s about time to become a Knight…”
Jin-woo nodded and stood. He had a place to go to.
Japan, international competitions, and the Emperors…the Demon Realm was associated with that story. Jin-woo immediately headed to the Sanctuary. When he told Arina that he was going to the Demon Realm, she shook with emotion welling in her eyes.
“Finally, Master is going to the Demon Realm! I’ll put you through.”
No portal connected to the Demon Realm in the Sanctuary, but Arina could connect to it. Like the main character, she could go to the Demon Realm without going through another Gate. As expected, it was best to be comfortable.
“Master, you are originally a human, right?”
“I am still human.”
“The Demon Realm is a little different from the material world, and it is a place that humans cannot endure. Oh! Of course, I’m not saying that it’s unbearable for you, but maybe something might happen.”
Jin-woo couldn’t understand well. Would it affect the Emperor of Gold? Anyway, the Demon Realm was completely different from Earth. Even in the original story, the main character entered the Demon Realm only after mastering the Heavenly Annihilation Technique.
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It was ‘Episode 234, the sub-title: The Advent of Heaven.’ It happened as soon as ‘Heavenly Annihilation Technique’ came out; it was so cringy that he automatically memorized it. Currently, the Heavenly Annihilation Technique was left unattended in Jin-woo’s warehouse. If the Old Archives and Five Dynasties had known, they would have been terrified.
It was Rank C, but it was a bit difficult to learn.
“Anyway, there’s no problem, is there?”
“Yes, of course. Let’s go to the center of the Sanctuary.”
The center of the Sanctuary was the center of all dimensions. When Arina reached out her hand in the space, a black gem formed.
“If you inject dimensional gold coins and mana into this, the dimensional connection will complete.”
“It’s so simple.”
“Thanks to my Lord!”
Jin-woo injected the dimensional gold coins into the black gem and then put his hand on it to generate mana.
A very large black portal emerged from the gem. The portal shimmered ominously, growing larger even after it swallowed the ceiling of the Sanctuary. The portal was overreacting to Jin-woo’s energy.
“Is this normal?”
“I’m sure it’s connected to the Demon Realm.”
When he checked the portal with the Magic Eye of Information, it was overloaded and seemed ready to explode.
Arina managed to get rid of it.
“That’s a huge hole.”
Jin-woo and Arina looked up at the open ceiling for a moment. It seemed to have moved to the Demon Realm. It was connected to the mine, so it contained many high-purity Magic Crystals, but it wasn’t a waste. After all, the entire mountain range was covered with similar stones.
“I-I was going to do an expansion project, so that’s just right.”
“Yeah. The ceiling is a bit hard to touch, isn’t it?”
“You’re right. It is hard in many ways.”
The ceiling felt stuffy, but it was nice to have interior accessories on the spot, it felt almost intentional.
“It’s a waste, though. Magic Crystals are quite precious in the Demon Realm.”
“Yes, the Emperor of Greed ate them all. What was left was tossed into the water by the Emperor of Vanity. This is the reason the fish of Demon Realm became so huge.”
Anyway, it was a stone that contained a Magic Crystal, so it could be very useful if someone on the Demon Realm found it.
“It is filled with the energy of the Sanctuary, so they can tell that it was sent from here. I don’t know who or how they will receive it since the portal was too big…anyway, that would be a great gift for the Demon Realm! How about leaving it with mercy?”
“The better the first impression, the easier things will be.”
“You’re very quick-paced, my Lord!”
Yes, as Arina said, let’s think of it as a gift to the Demon Realm. Looking at the news from the Demon Realm through the temple, the demons had too many misunderstandings about him. Although he had Elonti under his control, they were partners. Also, while he did acquire the China Gate and territories, it had happened by chance. The dimensional observer and prophet Callarice spread such rumors perhaps because she only observed some fragments of him.
‘I can meet with them in person to clear up any misunderstandings and give this gift.’
In the original, demons appeared as enemies of the main character, but Jin-woo had no intention of making them his foe. There were the dangerous people called the Emperors, so why else would he make another enemy?
‘For now, let’s go and get to know each other.’
Jin-woo opened the portal again with that thought. He injected only a very small amount of mana into it this time.
It was still big, but smaller than it was a little while ago. It was overloaded, but there was no problem with moving through.
“I’m going to work for a while and then head home. I will be waiting for you in the estate.”
“Yes! Isn’t there a dungeon in the demonized area? I am picking up monsters from the training ground and placing them.”
“Yeah, good job.”
He also entrusted the management of the demonized area to Arina. She made traps and operated dungeons since they had to protect the temple. Jin-woo looked at the portal swirling darkly and entered. It felt similar to when he entered the place where the Emperor of Greed was sealed. The air was thick but not bad.
The time to pass through the portal was surprisingly long. He felt like he was walking through a long tunnel. After passing through the dark portal, he finally stepped onto the land of the Demon Realm.
‘Where am I?’
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Jin-woo had no idea where he was. Because the portal was overloaded, he seemed to have arrived at a different place than his original destination. It seemed more out of sync with Elonti. He thought it was a wasteland, but there was a castle in the distance. The castle was pretty nice. It was even more magnificent because it had a huge mountain range rising behind it.
Had that also appeared in the original?
‘Come to think of it. It seems my body is fine, though?’
His body felt very light. The thick air felt very refreshing. It was like drinking cider made of air. The sky was a little dark, but it didn’t feel so gloomy.
He felt something escaping from his body. Looking at his own body, his golden mana was gradually escaping. His body seemed to be engulfed in flames.
The main character also used the demon energy he acquired through the Heavenly Annihilation Technique because his mana disappeared. When the strong protagonist suddenly became weak, his little annoying behaviors turned into a bigger problem. It was already the ninth volume, and he was growing from the bottom again. However, Jin-woo didn’t seem to be weakened.
He was supposed to feel empty when the mana drained out, but soon it started to be filled with something else. It was something different from mana: the highly concentrated energy sent from the Demon Realm itself.
[The Incarnation of Evil has descended on the Demon Realm.]
[The supreme Dark Ego that supports the Demon Realm is startled by the pure evil that is so fearful that it begins to offer its dark mana.]
[You can receive dark mana support while in the Demon Realm.]
[The Emperor of Gold received correction from the Incarnation of Evil.]
The golden light emanating from his body gradually grew darker. It was as if the sun was being eaten by darkness. If it was Dark Ego, it was the ego of the Demon Realm that appeared when choosing a Demon King. It was considered similar to the World Tree of the elves. Each dimension had one such thing as a Root Stone, which usually developed an ego when it grew large enough.
The main character was later recognized by Dark Ego and was given King of Heavenly Demons.
Wow, that’s so cool.
‘It’s a little unpleasant.’
The dark mana was overflowing, causing an aurora of black light to spew out. Even after covering his entire body, it soared in the air, incomparable to the Emperor of Vanity. Since he had the Incarnation of Evil job, it felt like the dark mana suited his body well.
No, it fits too well.
‘Shall I try it?’
Intending to test it, Jin-woo swung his hand, which was filled with mana. He expected the huge rock in front of him to be crushed, but it was engulfed in dark mana and flew into the air. It was a phenomenon caused by a distinctly different nature from ordinary mana.
The rock flew like a bullet and hit the wall far away. The wall collapsed, and a thick layer of dust filled the air. It looked like it had been bombed.
It was too much power. He had a creeping sense of déjà vu, feeling the situation was similar to when he broke the door that sealed the Emperor of Greed.
The middle of the wall was destroyed. There was, of course, a riot in the castle. The soldiers rushed out with astonishment plain on their faces. They were demons like Arina. The demons had had pale white skin like Arina, but there were also blue and dark brown demons. The point was that they had pointed ears and horns.
‘It looks like a typical demon illustration from an online game.’
Their appearance and the armor they were wearing were just like that. The numerous demon soldiers who climbed up the fortress wall were astonished as they looked at Jin-woo from afar.
‘I should apologize first.’
He didn’t know where exactly this place was in the Demon Realm, but it would be a big deal if this were the first impression they had about him. Jin-woo raised his hand slightly to express his apology and called out.
He didn’t mean it, and he was thinking of paying compensation, but the soldiers on the top of the fortress wall looked at the sky. They all looked dumbfounded with their mouths wide open. Their jaws dropped as if they were going to fall off. Some demons dropped the spears they were holding in fear.
Jin-woo turned his head and looked in the direction they were looking at. Something was streaking through the sky. Black flames rose as they collided with the thickly spread demon energy in the Demon Realm.
‘That’s…the Magic Crystal?’
It was a huge stone with high-density Magic Crystals embedded in it. The energy of that Magic Crystal was the same as that exuded by the Sanctuary of Gold. Only then did Jin-woo figure out what it was.
‘Oh! The ceiling!’
A great roar filled the skies. The Magic Crystal burst out and showed a violent reaction with the Demon Energy. Jin-woo’s gaze moved along with the meteorite as it smashed the castle’s most beautiful central tower…
And pierced the mountain behind it.
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It seemed his first impression was already screwed up.