Volume 5: Chapter 22: Sleeping Gladiator (Part 1)
Among the many demon clans in the world of Sulum, Bukka clan was best known for their extreme physical might and absurdly intense love for combat.
Their love for fighting was so deep that they built a gigantic coliseum in their territory just to satiate their thirst for combat and entertainment.
One of the reasons they waged so many battles against neighboring clans and human encampments was due to their insatiable need to fight.
Fighting was one thing the members of Bukka clan lived for, it was in their blood.
Of course, Bukka clan members were not without honor or common sense.
If someone managed to earn the respect or fear of Bukka clan, Bukka clan would refrain from attacking him.
But earning Bukka clan’s respect or fear to the point of obedience was no easy feat.
So far, the only clan Bukka clan would not dare to touch was the most powerful clan in the Kalkan Kingdom, Altyn clan of Phoenix demons.
Individually, Altyn clan was single most powerful clan, but they were not powerful enough to usurp authority over every clan in the kingdom with their forces alone, which is why they have not yet commenced their conquest.
But if a member of Altyn clan becomes the Demon King, then gaining control over the clans that submit and conquering the ones that rebel will become an easy task.
Due to their belief in their own superiority, Altyn clan was not exactly on good terms with other clans, who saw Altyn clan as a massive threat to themselves.
Many demons knew for a fact that if a member of Altyn clan becomes the Demon King, then every rebellious demon will be exterminated.
It will be nothing short of a massacre.
How did they know that for sure?
The answer was rather simple, history.
Many times when the Demon King was selected from Altyn clan, a tyrant would rise, and after a violent reign, he would be overthrown by the combined might of the demon clans.
By now, everyone knew that if Phoenix demon becomes the Demon King, then a disaster will follow.
In fact, Ralgar Altyn, 55th Demon King and father of Jaulon Altyn, left so much disaster, destruction, and massacre during his reign that the next Demon King, Akil Ras, had quite a mess to clean up.
It was not completely the fault of Great Ones for choosing members of Altyn clan as Demon Kings in the past, and in fact, there were some who did a great job in their positions. But some Demon Kings, not just ones originating from Altyn clan, became drunk with power and caused more harm than good to the kingdom.
Great Ones were responsible for selecting the one who is most worthy of becoming the Demon King; however that did not mean that the selected Demon King couldn’t change, sometimes for the worse.
Unfortunately, power tends to change even the strongest of hearts. One who was benevolent and kind can easily become a mad tyrant bent on complete domination.
But the fact remained; every clan wanted one of their own to become the next Demon King.
Bukka clan was no exception.
For hundreds of years, the Bukka clan had used the coliseum in order to host large variety of combats. But the most prominent use was to have the captured prisoners fight against their warriors.
If the prisoner managed to best all of his opponents and emerge victorious, he would be given a chance to join the Bukka clan as a subordinate or be killed on the spot. Unsurprisingly, most chose to join.
While the majority of Bukka clan members were ox demons, there were also large variety of warriors from other demon types and even non-demon species. Though, there were no humans, for obvious reasons.
If they had captured humans, Altyn clan would most likely try to gain as much information and knowledge from them before eating them.
In Bukka clan’s case, while they could also consume humans, it was far more entertaining to have them fight to their death and see the look of despair in their eyes as they are eventually overwhelmed.
Current situation was no different. Just another display of hatred demons bore for human-kind.
It is said that in the time before the First Demon King, Arin Draco, this land was ruled by Yokai and humans, who opposed each other, but it was obvious Yokai were the ones in control.
Demons, on the other hand, were the ones who had no land of their own and were persecuted.
But the arrival of the First Demon King to the land of Sulum had changed all of that.
Demons became the dominant force that was equal to and at times superior to Yokai.
Human beings, on the other hand, lost most of their power, with the lands they currently held being miniscule in comparison to the land in the hands of demons and Yokai.
It is said that the First Demon King came from a world called Alem, but chose to liberate demons from that world and transported them to the world of Sulum, thereby upsetting the balance of power in favor of demons.
Currently in Alem, the humanity is the dominant force, while in Sulum, demon-kind has reigned supreme, earning Sulum the nickname of Demon World.
Over time, gods of humanity from the world of Alem tried to interfere with the affairs of Sulum, but due to the interference of Great Ones, they could not control fates of those residing in the world of Sulum.
As such, gods who came to aid humanity were forced to resort to more direct means – battling against demon-kind.
But since Sulum was not their original world, if a god of Alem fell here in battle, it would be the end of that god.
In this world, they may be powerful, but they were not invincible or immortal.
Since there were next to no gods of Alem left in this world, it was obvious that the demon-kind had managed annihilate them.
The only known goddess of humanity that managed to survive was trapped in a stone and is not likely to be freed any time soon.
Currently she is regularly used as cleaning tool by the members of Tengu clan.
While the Primary and Secondary Gods of Alem had managed to take control of their world and many others, they could not do so with the world of Sulum.
Part of the reason for that was because of the Great Ones.
Great Ones were not too different from gods of Alem, but unlike them, Great Ones had minimal interference with the lives of the residence of this world.
They protected the world from outside interferences by the gods of the other worlds and bestowed the power of Demon King to the chosen demon.
That was pretty much all they did in this world.
Unlike gods of Alem who were obsessed with control, Great Ones for the most part were observers.
And because of that, in the eyes of demons, they were comparatively better than the Gods of Alem.
By now, Gods of Alem considered their attempt at conquering world of Sulum to be a massive failure, as far as they knew, all the Secondary gods sent to this world to aid humanity had perished.
But the fact that there once were gods of Alem in this realm remained, and many humans still worshipped them.
As such, human beings or anyone who looks like a human would be treated with hostility by the world dominated by demon-kind.
Now the arena was filled with countless spectators. There were three gigantic columns set in the middle of the arena.
So many demons were here to witness the pure carnage of gladiatorial battles.
“BRING OUT THE PRISONERS!”
All the human prisoners, including a certain lich and a human-like demon, were brought to the coliseum, to meet their fate.
Their hands and legs were no longer cuffed, but each one had a mana binding cuff around his neck, to prevent them from using magic.
“Well, letting them die without a fight would not be much of an entertainment, will it?” Robos Bukka menacingly smiled.
By his orders, the human gladiators were given wooden weapons.
“Come, our champions!”
Countless warriors of Bukka clan emerged from the opposite side of the Coliseum, each wielding a real weapon and some even had armor.
Some members of Bukka clan were in their True Demon Forms, which in a way heavily resembled a Minotaur, but Bukka clan members were far taller and more muscular. Compared to Bukka clan members in their True Demon Form, Minotaurs looked rather tame in comparison.
Most important fact was that none of them had a mana sealing chains or cuffs on them.
By Bukka clan’s design, this was a one way massacre.
Their own warriors would have access to magic and weapons while the humans will have no capacity to use their beloved Holy Magic.
Giving them wooden weapons was a way to mock them, make them struggle till their last breath; give them an illusion of notion that they might survive.
Robos Bukka couldn’t wait to see their hope turn into despair.
What he wanted to see the most was how that human, the one who destroyed their wine, would suffer.
By blowing a ceremonial horn, Robos Bukka gave a signal for commencement of the battle.
The gladiatorial games had begun.
* * *
“Well, isn’t this fun?” Kanka was positively enjoying his time.
As a lich, he did not have any vital organs and mana sealing cuffs had no effect on him. So, he was pretty much letting loose.
Stabbing based attack could not harm him, and he had enough mana in his body to reform if someone manages to smash him into bits.
Forming a bone sword, he slashed his opponents into pieces.
“WORLD OF BONES!”
Countless spear-like spikes emerged from the ground, skewering Kanka’s unfortunate victims.
With his arms extended, Kanka shot bone projectiles at his oncoming enemies.
Faced with a lich, only the strong could even hope to survive his onslaught.
“Now then, where did my new buddy Ren go?”
Kanka proceeded to make a bone platform of about five meters in height in order to see a little further.
Looking around, Kanka half expected Ren to be fighting against the Bukka clan’s warriors.
But reality was far different from what Kanka expected.
Ren apparently dug up a meter deep trench and was currently sleeping in it.
“Is he serious? I am a lich, so I have nothing to worry about, but he is mortal, so shouldn’t he feel at least a bit scared? How can he sleep at a time like this?”
Ren did not sleep for long.
One of the Bukka clan warriors used earth magic, and Ren was promptly launched into the air by a rising earth column underneath him.
Funnily enough, he flew high up into the air, at least ten meters, before ending up landing on the back of one of Bukka clan’s warriors.
Still drunk after the night spent in a wine cellar, Ren ended up grabbing the unfortunate Bukka clan member by the horns, unknowingly taking control over the warrior’s enormous body.
Demon Horns are very sensitive, which is why when Ren ended up grabbing the horns of the demon warrior, the demon warrior started to howl in pain.
With Ren on his back, he started to scream.
“AAH! Get him off me! Get him off me!”
With Ren grabbing on to demon warrior’s long horns even harder than before, demon warrior started to lose control, the direction of his movement was controlled by the way his head was turned, which was currently being manipulated by horns Ren grabbed hold of.
Under massive pain and losing control of his movement, the demon warrior started to crash into everyone on his way, knocking down at least a dozen humans and demons alike, before crashing into the wall of the coliseum, making him pass out.
As a result of the crash, one of his horns was broken.
Ren, who was on demon warrior’s back, ended up falling down as well.
It was safe to say that his outer self was now asleep.
However, his inner self, the embodiment of his survival instincts, was now wide awake.
Ren’s eyes were closed, his face was that of a sleeping person as he was snoring, but his body was moving.
His main personality losing consciousness allowed his inner self to take over.
Not uttering a single word, his instincts guided his body.
Inner Ren now stood up, both eyes still closed and his outer personality asleep.
Unlike his outer personality of a scatter-brained coward, his inner self was calm and fearless.
The one who was now awake was not Ren Karatengu, but more like the side of him that is rarely seen, his survival instincts; the inner self within him.
Whenever Ren was asleep, Inner Ren would take over, causing him to start walking at night, all without the outer personality’s awareness.
But now that Ren had passed out, his Inner Self was free to take over and do as he pleased.
Concentrating upon the energy within the atmosphere, Inner Ren gathered mana towards his body, entering Demon Lord Mode in an instant.
While Bukka clan could have effortlessly killed Ren when he was his usual self, now that Inner Ren was awake, that would no longer be so easy…