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Specter carved a number into his heart.

‘One thousand.’

That was how many Silla soldiers gave their souls for him. Perhaps they themselves knew best that no matter what, they couldn’t beat the Heavenly Demon.

‘Their stats were definitely higher than mine, but...’

It wouldn't have worked. They were figures from a time when there wasn't even a Gate. They couldn’t use magic. They were just ‘well-trained soldiers’ who had inherited Seo Jun-Ho's monstrous stats.

“…”

Specter clasped the Blue Dragon Sword.

'If you all are watching this battle from heaven, I will do my best to fight so that you won’t think your sacrifice was in vain.’

The huge darkness that seemed to cover the sky began to wrap around Specter’s body. One, two, three times… Layering dozens of times, it looked like dark armor. It wasn't just a change in appearance.

'This should be good enough to move for a while.’

The dark threads he made in his body were mending and fixing his broken ribs. It was only a temporary treatment, but it could suppress the pain, at the least.

"It seems you’re ready.” the Heavenly Demon muttered while standing with his hands behind his back.

Suddenly, he felt as if he had smelled something disgusting at the tip of his nose.

‘How horrible.’

How many people had he killed? How could he be so calm even after committing such a massacre? Specter couldn't help but ask, "You… How many sins have you committed?"

"…Sins?" The Heavenly Demon opened his eyes wide. He looked as if he had never been asked such a question in his life. He replied with a refreshed look, "This is a very new question… Yeah, by my personal standards...” While seriously contemplating, he nodded slowly. "I've probably… never sinned in my life."

"...Shameless bastard." Didn’t that mean that murder wasn’t a crime to him? Specter realized once again. "As expected, you shouldn't be left alive."

"I shouldn't be left alive. It might be a little sad if that’s true." The corners of the Heavenly Demon’s smiling mouth went up coldly.

"Of course…"

When the Heavenly Demon stepped lightly on the deck, the dark red demonic energy formed hundreds of spears, which aimed at Specter. "...That's for when you’re even able to kill me."

Swoooosh!

Hundreds of spears rushed toward Specter. Specter flung himself and rolled on the floor, and he heard the sound of the deck behind him collapsing.

'The deck behind me is no more.’

As he pushed off the deck and ran, the Blue Dragon Sword in his hand shone in a bright light.

Slice! Slice!

The Heavenly Demon’s demonic energy that even the Watchguard of Darkness couldn't easily catch was casually severed like tofu by the Blue Dragon Sword’s purifying energy.

"...What a repulsive weapon,” the Heavenly Demon muttered sourly as he once again took a step forward. At the same time, spikes began to pop out of the floor, and spears also began to fly.

'... Damn it.'

The way Specter was moving to avoid and block attacks was spectacular. It felt unreal as if time itself was being fast-forwarded. Specter’s eyes were constantly rotating and putting the world back into view.

‘Not enough, not enough, not enough...’

There was an absurd lack of information to be transmitted to the brain. It felt as if the surrounding space had become his enemy.

"You can't cover the sky with a human’s palm." The Heavenly Demon wasn’t disappointed. He knew Specter wouldn't be his match in the first place.

'But... I didn't know he’d be so desperate.’

What on earth was he doing that for? Specter wielded his limbs frantically and created wolves of darkness to block his attack. As he watched Specter in a daze, Specter seemed like a fighter fighting a war on his own.

'…What a fool. Nothing in this world is worth doing that.’

The Heavenly Demon slowly took a step. He wanted to snuff out Specter’s life with his own hands.

"Ugh!"

Specter was hit by the demonic energy rising from the ground, and he was forced to roll on the deck several times. There was no time for him to show that he was in pain. He sprang up like a spring and frantically swung his sword once again.

‘There's no end to it at this rate.’

Specter looked sideways at Heavenly Demon.

He had to attack the Heavenly Demon somehow.

'…Then is this the only way?'

Specter bit his lips. The dark armor was being quartered in real-time. If it hadn't been for the armor, he would have already suffered five or six critical injuries.

'Raise the output.’

He was currently using Overclocking at seventy percent of the maximum output. After the body transformation, it was the highest output he could use even after training with the Thunder God.

‘Faster, even faster.’

Tu-tum, tu-tum.

His heart started to beat like crazy. The output was raised to eighty-five percent at once. It was an unknown level that he had never even attempted before.

"Ugh?!"

Unknowingly, a suppressed scream flowed out of his mouth along with his saliva. He was already having a hard time focusing on the battle, but his mind was trying to go somewhere else. It was all because he could clearly feel the blood vessels in his body.

'It's hot...!'

Each and every blood vessel was so hot that it seemed like they would melt at any moment. To make matters worse, the pain in his ribs reappeared, perhaps because of the intense movement.

‘But...’

Certainly, he had become much faster. He could feel it.

‘Endure the pain. Cover the distance at once!’

Specter raced across the deck wielding a sword. As if escorting him, the dozens of wolves of darkness bit off the Heavenly Demon’s attacks. Specter didn't stop. He was already on a running train. From now on, the star would be the momentum. It was impossible for a train to turn its steering wheel once it had started to move. Half a breath later, in what could truly be considered an instant, Specter appeared before the Heavenly Demon.

Slash!

Specter’s Blue Dragon Sword reached out toward his heart.

“…”

As the Heavenly Demon stared at Specter’s mask, their gazes met in mid-air. The Heavenly Demon seemed to be asking Specter if this was the best he could do.

Ugh…?

Specter’s eyes shot open. The Blue Dragon Sword stopped just in front of the Heavenly Demon’s heart, and it wouldn’t go any further. Specter’s wrist was caught.

‘Please, please...!’

No matter how much strength and magic he put into his trembling hands, it wouldn’t move. It was a complete loss of physical strength.

"Your efforts are commendable."

The Heavenly Demon extended his palm with his opposite hand.

Crush!

The dark armor Specter wore vanished. The veins of his entire body burst, and his skin quickly turned red.

"If there's one thing that’s regrettable. It’s that you were no more, no less, just as expected."

With an indifferent expression, the Heavenly Demon made a fist and swung mechanically. Specter tried to back off, but unfortunately, his wrist was still in the other party’s hand. He punched out with his other hand and swung his elbow to fight back.

"Too slow..."

Craack!

The Heavenly Demon directly bent Specter’s elbow.

"I can't believe you’re this weak.”

“…!”

A scream was enough to squeeze the air out of anyone’s lungs, and their vision would swim as a result. Specter endured the pain with bloodshot eyes as he kicked upward with his knee.

Crack!

The Heavenly Demon’s fist smashed his knee. Specter’s leg hung limply in a strange direction while the Heavenly Demon’s fist continued toward his face.

'Ah...'

He felt that if he closed his eyes and let go of the thread tenaciously hanging on to his consciousness, he would be able to sleep comfortably. However, Specter opened his eyes wide. He vanquished the devil’s whispers and temptation.

Grab!

He reached out and held the Heavenly Demon’s shoulders tightly.

'Now... Now's the only time.’

This opportunity would never come again. Specter forced his dangling arm up. At the same time, the magic in his body escaped like tide. It was an unfinished technique, but it was the strongest attack he could use.

‘Moon Eye.’

Once again, a flower appeared in his hand. To make this poor flower bloom, he was prepared to die.

'You won’t be able to avoid this.’

Specter was sure of it. After learning the power to freeze, the Moon Eye evolved.

“…!”

The proof of this was the Heavenly Demon’s stiffening look. The flowers in front of him gave off a sense of danger. It was the first time he had caught a whiff of death since the battle began.

‘Touch him!’

The Moon Eye slowly headed for the Heavenly Demon. The Heavenly Demon barely managed to move his eyes and look at it, but when his sight landed on the flower, his face abruptly distorted.

Whoosh!

The sea breeze blew the petals of the Moon Eye. Hundreds of petals fell on the messy deck that seemed to have turned into a pirate ship.

"…Ah."

A voice barely escaped Specter’s throat. To start the conclusion, the attack was successful.

"…Ahh."

However, he had failed to kill the Heavenly Demon.

Slice!

The Heavenly Demon cut off the dead arm covered in black petals without hesitation. If it had been a little longer, the petals would have covered up the other parts of his body.

“…”

Specter bit his lips tightly and closed his eyes. There was a deep sadness on his face.

‘A handful…’

Yeah, just a handful. With just a handful more magic power, he could have tied down the Heavenly Demon for another half a second. With that much more time, the Moon Eye could have frozen his heart. The winner and the loser were decided because he was lacking in the last step.

"…Great job." The Heavenly Demon’s voice lacked the humor from before. He nodded slowly with a grave expression. "You’ve entertained me… much more than I expected."

The Heavenly Demon was truly moved. The opponent had a much lower level and stats than himself. He had never even imagined that such an enemy could deal this much damage to him.

'No, if...’

If his opponent had a little more magic power. If that unknown ability managed to suppress his body for 0.5... No, if it lasted 0.3 more seconds, perhaps he wouldn’t exist in this world anymore to praise Specter.

"Ku."

The thought made the Heavenly Demon laugh—he had won.

‘What's the meaning of this kind of victory…’

To be honest, the Heavenly Demon thought he wouldn't be happy in the slightest bit at all. It was just a light outing that he had taken to give Earth's garbage a sense of defeat. However, he didn't expect to feel so much pleasure and a sense of being alive during that casual journey.

"You’re really, really great."

Maybe that was why? But Heavenly Demon did what he would never do normally.

Slice!

He gathered his demonic energy and wounded his arm.

Drip, drip...

The Heavenly Demon thrust his bloodied arm forward and said, "Drink it."

“…”

Specter lying on the floor like a dried fish looked up at him with difficulty.

"Come with me as a fiend."

"…Fiends are born from drinking the blood of demons."

"The concentration of my blood is particularly high. It's comparable to most lesser demons. If you feel it's not enough, you can just get the blood of a high-ranking demon and drink it later.”

"Kic." Specter’s shoulders shook up and down. He laughed at the nonsense. "Are you actually a crazy bastard…?”

How could he make such a suggestion to an enemy who was just fighting for his life just now?

Tremble…

Specter slowly stood up.

Thud!

He just realized. A person couldn’t stand up properly when one of their legs was broken.

"…What a shame."

The Heavenly Demon truly thought it was a shame. He had to kill such a brilliant person. Specter was a man the Heavenly Demon himself wanted to recruit as a comrade, even at the cost of altering his plans.

"I’ll just ask one question: is the world worthy enough for a man like you to go this far?"

It was a genuine question from his heart.

In response, Specter replied without any hesitation, "It is."

He suddenly remembered what Shim Deok-Gu said before he came here.

- Jun-Ho, you don't have to carry everything on your own.

He knew the meaning of that very well.

"…I think you're right.”

"What do you mean?"

"I'm a remnant of the past. My time is over.”

For twenty-five years without Specter's presence, the world had changed.

"Flute of Tidal Breath, deactivate."

The world began to fall apart at that order. The blue sky collapsed and was replaced by the night sky. The intense sunlight began to change quickly to the bright lights of the baseball stadium. The hard deck he felt on his back turned into soft grass.

"There are other heroes who have protected the world for twenty-five years without me."

If Specter had built the foundation, they were the ones who built a strong castle using his foundation. They protected Earth physically, and mentally, and they created law and order. They built a solid system to prevent the fiends from invading Earth.

“…”

The Heavenly Demon slowly turned his head and looked around. The tens of thousands of spectators in the baseball stadium had disappeared like a lie. Instead, hundreds of unfamiliar figures occupied the ground and the stands.

"I see."

The Heavenly Demon smiled bitterly. There were three Heavens in sight and hundreds of the best Players of the Big 6.

'The news about the raid against the Floor Master on the 3rd floor... Was it a lie for this moment?’

They were bold heroes who had tricked the entire world. With a stiff face, Kim Woo-Joong approached the smiling Heavenly Demon.

"Heavenly Demon."

As he slowly drew his sword, Kim Woo-Joong declared, "Tonight, let's put an end to this long war."