Chapter 101 – Followers of Calamity (1)
Animosity against the Enemy of the World was universal, and no one would openly dare refute it . The clergymen attributed all sorts of evil to the Enemy of the world during their sermons and denounced him while wanted posters of him with an astronomical figure as bounty were stuck in prominent places in plazas .
There were efforts in libraries to belittle his achievements . Every one of his heroic acts was erased, and misdeeds were added in fearsome amounts overnight onto his resume . Statues of Sungchul that had been erected in places throughout the Human Empire were torn down and destroyed . Those that weren’t already aware of him naturally concluded this man known as the Enemy of the World was a dangerous entity capable of heinous acts through literature and word of mouth .
However, there were a rare few that questioned this oppressive opinion about the Enemy of the World .
“Is what we’re doing really justified?”
Kaal Bomba was watching this man who stood at the peak of Harupaya Ridge creating a divide between the human and devil armies with eyes filled with complicated emotions .
“Regardless of what anyone says, didn’t the Enemy of the World fight alongside us and save us from disaster twice?”
He could still vividly recall the reverberation of the horn flute that swept up from below like a fierce wave carrying a powerful wind along the slope . If Sungchul hadn’t appeared precisely when he did, Kaal and his comrades would have been killed and forgotten . Kaal could understand his comrades that were aiming their siege weapons at the man while pouring out profanities, and yet he was also filled with doubt .
“A dwarven grudge is deeper than the rivers and the seas, but does this mean our grudge is more important than our gratitude towards our savior? This is my question . ”
Unfortunately, the other dwarves did not see things his way .
“I don’t know what he was thinking while saving us, but just look at what’s in that bastard’s hand . He is holding the divine tool gifted to us by our God with his filthy human hands and dirtying it with filthy devil blood . He has committed the gravest of sin against us and made mockery of our people . ”
“Rightly so! This is an insult that cannot be overlooked by any dwarf . ”
Their hatred toward Sungchul could not be diminished . As long as Sungchul refused to return Fal Garaz… or even if he did, their intention to never forgive his actions was clear . Dwarven stubbornness was often compared to that of stone . Regardless of how much time has passed or how strong of a force tries to bend their will, this hatred would not fade .
Kaal shut his mouth as he knew all too well that his friends would not change their minds so easily . Behind the dwarves who were openly showing hostility, armies big and small were taking up positions on the hill . It was a military unit that was gathered by each nation urgently to respond to the loss at Harupaya Ridge and the appearance of the Enemy of the World .
Sungchul unemotionally watched as human reinforcements gathered upon the hill where the biting winds blew .
‘Martin Breggas had forfeited his duties, and the Order of the Iron Blood Knights now wave the flag of rebellion . It might have been more odd if the feudal lords hadn’t responded urgently . ’
The majority of the reinforcements that had been quickly gathered were mercenaries . Lord of every small nation located behind the Demon Realm battlefront had expended all efforts in order to form this mercenary company . Sungchul didn’t care if the force was composed of mercenaries or standing armies .
He turned his head to look north . The devil army had suffered greatly because of Sungchul and lost a lot of vigor, but the grand devil army that was positioned in the plains still had numbers nearing a hundred thousand . They had their feet tied due to a single person, but as soon as Sungchul left, they were prepared to move south once again .
There was only one reason that the Devil Army was showing such leisure . It was because of the attitude that the humans and its allies had towards Sungchul; the Humans launched sporadic assaults against Sungchul while the Devils watched .
Sungchul’s response to this had been passive, but it gave assurance to the Devils . Sungchul was also an enemy of the humans, and that meant he might not side with the humans and simply depart from Harupaya Ridge . They might have lost their commander and a large number of their high-grade Devils, but they weren’t willing to give up on this rare opportunity .
“How long are you going to stay here?”
Bertelgia spoke with a heavy sigh as though she was fed up .
“I’m staying until the human army and their allies, gather a powerful enough force to stand against them . ”
Sungchul looked toward south through squinted eyes . The numbers were growing with the arrival of large and small mercenary companies, but it was still an insufficient number to stop the demons .
He would probably have to wait a minimum of two more days for the humans to be able to defend themselves . Sungchul briefly reflected on this, leaned on a nearby rock, and closed his eyes .
“So frustrating! You’re going to protect those ungrateful idiots that are repaying your help with malice? If it was me, I’d have been long gone . See what they can do without me!”
“There’s no benefit for me if this place is broken through . ”
Sungchul picked up a single pebble and tossed it into the air .
Drops of blood fell from the path the pebble had flown by, and the remains of an eyeball fell to the ground like a deflated balloon . It was an Observer’s Eye sent by a mage of the human faction . It was one summoned with high-grade summoning techniques on a different level than what could be found back at the Summoning Palace, but to Sungchul they were just a plaything to pass the time .
“To get rid of the Seven Heroes quickly, it is advantageous to maintain the current strategic state in many different aspects . If by chance the Seven Heroes arrive onto a land where humans have been exterminated, it’ll make things more complicated . ”
“But still, I don’t like it . Especially those dwarves! They’re calling you a son of a bitch! Just cause you stole a hammer!”
“It’s because this hammer isn’t ordinary . ”
It had been two days since he held the hilltop . He began to feel peckish . He had filled his belly so far with water and date palm, so Sungchul decided to cook for himself before the watchful eyes of hundred thousand demons .
There wasn’t anything particularly edible in the area; just the colorless, odorless, and tasteless mushroom that he didn’t know the name to was all . Sungchul held a head-sized stone and looked toward the Omen of Calamity soaring through the air . He waited patiently until the Omen was at the nearest point toward him and threw the rock . It flew in a straight line like a beam of light and tore through the Omen’s beak and smashed its skull causing the massive bird to crash toward the ground . Sungchul butchered the fallen Omen of Calamity with a blade and inspected the state of its meat .
“… This is not something anyone should eat . ”
It was something he put effort to hunt, but he left it behind without a second thought . Instead, he dug through his Soul Storage and pulled something out . It was noodles fried with oil and dehydrogenated soup . It was something called ‘instant ramen’ back in Sungchul’s world . Strictly speaking, it wasn’t instant ramen . There was no ingredient that hadn’t been carefully prepared by Sungchul’s hands within the homemade instant noodle .
Sungchul took one of the helmets rolling around and used it as a canteen by carefully washing it with water before boiling some water within it . Once the water began to boil, he added a soup base he had sealed inside of a tin container and added noodles that had been fried in oil into the water . All that was left was to watch it boil .
Sungchul didn’t use any additional additives in his ramen . He followed the principle that the true flavor of the ramen would come alive as long as he stuck to the standard ingredients .
“Mmm . ”
His stomach which had been filled with nothing but hard palm dates for the past few days began to rumble when he breathed in the aroma of his cooking . Sungchul pulled out some chopsticks and began to stir the ramen boiling in his helmet as he took in the aroma . It was at this moment that he could feel an unfamiliar presence close by . It was an intruder .
Sungchul glared as his eyes shifted toward the direction where he felt the presence . He couldn’t see anything with his naked eyes, but his Soul Contract – Eye of Truth activated automatically to see the single human figure beyond what his were capable of .
It was an individual who cloaked her body with an unconventional invisibility magic . It was a young woman draped in a thick robe . Her yellow pupils that held a persistent light resembled one from a reptile . Curiosity rose in Sungchul’s eyes .
‘Isn’t she that dragon that appeared two days ago on the battlefield?’
The one approaching Sungchul was none other than Kha’nes from the Tower of Recluse .
‘Is he the man known as the Enemy of the World? Quite plain . Not to mention his clothes are pretty much just rags . ’
She did not even imagine that Sungchul had already discovered her . She had not hidden herself through ordinary magic, but the highest grade magic of the dragons known as Dragon-tongue . She did not think a mere human would be able to see through her at all .
However, she did not have a chance to witness Sungchul’s fight herself . She had been at some nameless lake in Trowyn sprawled onto a sandy beach while Sungchul was massacring the devils . All because she had overexerted herself after being in Dragon form for so long .
She had heard that Sungchul managed to defeat the Devils by himself but to simply accept the rumors of his exploits would be exceedingly unrealistic . Seeing is believing .
It was all for this reason that Kha’nes had decided to discreetly investigate this man known as the Enemy of the World, but a strange aroma tickled the tip of her nose as she took a few steps closer .
‘Huh? I can smell something delicious . ’
Sungchul was boiling something on the fire . A red soup was boiling inside a helmet, and she could see some white flour-based noodles dancing within it . It was an aroma that she had never smelled before coming from the food she had never seen before .
As Kha’nes didn’t seem to take any further actions, Sungchul took a mouthful of ramen to his lips .
‘Slurp . ’
The chewy noodles steeped in the salty soup was sucked in through Sungchul’s lips . It wasn’t all that bad to Sungchul’s standards . Accompanied by hunger which was the greatest side dish at the top of a mountain with biting wind, it worked his appetite to a degree he had never felt before .[The Score of this Recipe is… 57 points!]
Even this mysterious person that had judged Korean cuisine so harshly decided to give a relatively decent score for Sungchul’s homemade ramen .
‘Of course . It was stock made from the highest grade of chicken fit for serving the emperor and mixed with 32 different spices to make the soup . ’
Sungchul continued his meal regardless of whether Kha’nes continued to observe him or not .
“More than 100 thousand men are watching, but I guess food still crawls down your gullet just fine?”
Beltergia mocked him, but Sungchul didn’t hear any of it . This ramen that he had prepared after so long was truly an exquisite dish . If there was a single flaw, it was that there was no Kimchi to accompany it . It goes without saying that Kha’nes who was watching incognito was starting to drool .
‘Gulp . ’
Her stomach began to rumble as she watched Sungchul eat this strange dish that she had never seen before with such enthusiasm .
‘Now that I think about it, I haven’t eaten a proper meal since I took on Dragon form . ’
She had eaten two warhorses during her state as a Dragon, but Kha’nes didn’t remember this fact . As she was drawn by this strange aroma from this foreign food, she unknowingly took a step closer to Sungchul .
“I know you’re there . ”
When Kha’nes approached within 10 meters, Sungchul stopped his chopsticks and looked toward her to let out a sharp remark .
‘He saw through my Dragon-tongue magic?! How can that be? He must have good instincts!’
Kha’nes wore a bitter smile as she pulled off the magical veil that covered her body . The young woman with eyes of a dragon wearing a thick robe appeared before Sungchul . Bertelgia who had been complaining quickly retreated into Sungchul’s pocket at the sudden appearance of this monstrous person
“Hey there, human . ” Kha’nes held up her palm as she threw out a friendly greeting .
“They call you the Enemy of the World?”