Their feet were swallowed by the swamp on every step they took, and soon, even their calves were submerged.
“It is kind of disgusting,” Pon said with a frown. A large leech clung to his ankle that he had pulled from the swamp. It was a demonic creature that took away health and magic power. The blue and red veins wriggling inside the translucent outer shell aroused disgust.
“Plus, it hurts quite a bit. What percentage is the damage over time? I feel like I will run out of mana if I let my guard down.”
“Doesn’t Euphemina have almost infinite mana?”
“It isn’t me, but all of you.”
Chepardea’s spawning ground was located in a large cave. The access route was so narrow that it was impossible to use flying magic. They were forced to walk, which was a problem because it was a swamp. Their movement speed was too slow. In particular, Euphemina was a magician and had low physical strength and health. She was greatly affected by the swamp area. She couldn't easily pull her feet out from the swamp, and she was often submerged to her waist.
“Can’t you use your magic to evaporate the whole swamp?”
“Is that all? I can blow up the entire cave. But if I do so, the enemies will immediately detect something unusual,” Euphemina replied as she grabbed Haster’s hand and was pulled out of the swamp. In her heart, she wanted to blow up the entire cave.
Mercedes, who had been walking silently in the lead, calmed the group, “You aren’t a gorilla so don’t be impatient. We have plenty of time because we planned it to be a slow march. It is important to stealthily sneak in as planned.”
“Yes, I know.”
It was Mercedes herself who had recently been obsessed with gorillas. The party knew the reason, but they didn’t bother to show it.
After several hours of arduous marching, the group arrived at their destination. Mercedes faced the wide space that endlessly stretched out in front of her and commanded from the front, “Stop for now.”
In the center of the space, hundreds of eyes that were many times larger than a human torso were wriggling. To be precise, they were eggs that looked like eyes. Chepardea’s eggs, wrapped in sticky body fluids, hung heavily from purple vines that scattered unusual demonic energy.
“Did the bodily fluids flowing down from the eggs form this swamp?” Pon clicked his tongue.
“There is a high possibility that there are vines under the swamp. Be extra careful with your feet,” Mercedes warned as she examined the scale of the vines lining the cave’s ceilings and walls. Most of the creatures in hell were demons, and the plants were no exception. It wouldn’t be strange if these purple vines moved like they were alive and aimed at an intruder’s blind spot.
The group nodded. Euphemina and Haster cast flying magic, while Pon summoned his white horse and mounted it. From the time they left the narrow space, the swamp could no longer disturb them.
Just as Mercedes warned, the vines identified the intruders and started attacking from a distance and they intercepted the attacks without difficulty.
“These rat bastards crawling in the mud. Indeed, there is no room for the weak to keep their pride.”
Someone reacted to the noise generated by intercepting the vines. It was the demon who moved the spawning ground and protected it. His name was Helgarric. He was one of the ones Yura identified as a close associate of Baal. She said that ‘moving something’ was his specialty. This was why they tried not to be discovered beforehand. It would avoid giving him more time to move the spawning grounds they had worked hard to arrive at.
Then countless footsteps were heard from the road Helgarric had arrived from. It was the sound of the advance of the army led by this guy. The ground shook. The purple vines on the ceilings and walls swayed like they were falling.
“Still, it is a bit shocking that an invasion was allowed before the spawning ground was moved... The Demon Slayer’s tenaciousness has paid off.”
Chepardea’s spawning grounds—its location had already been discovered by Agnus and Betty. The location was moved, but intruders came once again.
Helgarric sighed and shrugged. “Well, it doesn’t matter. This time, I am guarding this place myself. I will teach the Demon Slayer how foolish it is to target this place by killing and getting rid of all of you.”
“Don’t mention Yura.”
“It is offensive to put her name in that filthy mouth.”
“...You are quite eccentric for a human being. Are all of Grid’s apostles like you?”
The army arrived as Helgarric was speaking. Behind him, hundreds of heavily armed demon soldiers were marching, but their military discipline was unusual. Like the knights of the Overgeared Empire, they quickly took a formation and waited for their master’s orders.
“Aren’t they quite armed? Where did they get the same armor and weapons as us?”
“I think they plundered it from the surface.”
Pon and Haster reacted with some surprise.
Hell—it was a primitive dimension where the level of civilization was greatly reduced compared to the surface. Unless they were high ranking demons who could cross to the surface relatively easily, most demons didn’t even have proper clothing. In the first place, what could be expected from a world where there was only one blacksmith? However, Helgarric and his army were well-armed, like soldiers owned by nobles on the surface.
Helgarric snorted when he overheard their conversation. “You ignorant humans. Do you believe that the civilization on the surface is better than hell? How can that be?”
With every step that Helgarric took, the swamp boiled up like lava.
The entire cave, which was as large as several football fields, instantly heated up. The irresistible heat tormented the group.
“Think of Baal’s power. He, who is greater than the gods, devours the knowledge and skills of the dead. Human civilization can be developed at any time.”
Pon wiped away the sweat dripping down his face like rain and agreed. In the first place, there were huge castles in hell.
They were castles inhabited by great demons. It had a huge scale and complex structure that was rare even on the surface. It was proof that the civilization of hell had transcended human civilization in some ways.
That’s right. The civilization of hell wasn’t undeveloped. It was suppressed because it wasn’t necessary, or perhaps it was suppressed because it was necessary.
“I predicted and prepared for your raid from the very beginning. Judging from the way you crawled through the swamp, you seem to believe that you have prepared this operation secretly, but you are mistaken. Instead, you have fallen into a trap.”
It wasn’t a bluff. The number of troops proved it.
The viewers witnessing the situation in real time also realized this. Most of the other parties, as well as the one led by Mercedes, were surrounded by enemies in the area where they were acting. The demons of hell knew exactly what the Overgeared Guild was aiming for.
It was a clear crisis.
“If they are reacting this well...”
“...I think it will fail?”
The response of the demons was too good. The viewers were filled with anxiety.
The epic was narrating the situation.
[There was a dirty and vicious trick lurking at every entrance of hell where God and his messengers descended.]
It wasn’t a particularly negative statement. It merely recorded the fact as it was. Nevertheless, the impact was great. The humans of the surface thought the worst. They were influenced by a fear that was ingrained in their subconscious.
[Humanity has recalled the fear they have forgotten for a while.]
It happened when the faded terror of humanity sprouted again...
“I expected it,” Grid opened his mouth.
He had arrived in front of Baal’s city.
Vantner and the evil eyes’ king cocked their heads when they heard him suddenly talking to himself.
The fifth party was composed of Zik, Jishuka, Vantner, and the evil eyes’ king. First of all, they were a group that worked with Grid. Grid was conscious of their gaze and continued speaking while feeling somewhat embarrassed, “Demons are a group that are infinitely weak and parasitic in the darkness of hell. I predicted in advance that they wouldn’t dare to oppose us and would use tricks.”
Grid’s comments were recorded in the epic. It was because it was a statement that responded to the flow of the epic. Grid, who had already written the 27th epic, knew when to speak and how to act to influence the epic.
Grid took off the glasses of the evil eyes’ king, who was still looking confused. At the same time.
Rays of destruction were fired. The huge head adorning the gate of Baal’s city. It wasn’t a statue, but the living, breathing head of Asura that was precisely targeted. The distance was so great that it looked like a dot, but the power of the rays after reaching it wasn’t diminished in the slightest.
“Ughhhhh!” A rather funny groan rang out like thunder. It was a groan from Asura’s head, whose mouth was being crushed by the rays of destruction.
The demons were flustered.
“Attack! The humans have arrived!”
“What are those rays...! Asura’s head can’t open his eyes!”
The frightened demons were in disarray.
Grid stared down at them and handed the evil eyes’ king over to Vantner. Jishuka was already shooting arrows. They were arrows with runes wrapped around them. The Breaking Evil Arrows, which exerted great power against evil beings, became several times more powerful with Zik’s help.
The baptism of arrows fired by Jishuka bombarded the demons who were in chaos. The firmly closed high gates of Baal’s city were quickly torn down.
The whole process was described in the epic. People’s fears became even lighter than they were in the beginning.
The satisfied Grid winked at Jishuka. “I’ll be back.”
“Yes, I will protect you from behind no matter what, so just look ahead. Destroy everything.”
Grid was happy to see Jishuka as bright and energetic as always and smiled. He smiled in front of the castle of Baal, the 1st ranked Great Demon, in the middle of the enemy camp. The implications were great. People’s faith in Grid deepened and their fear of Baal faded.
Coincidentally, the leaders of each group were helping Grid.
At the spawning ground, Mercedes triggered the Heart of the Frost Queen. A terrible chill quickly froze the swamp that was boiling like lava, baffling Helgarric. Mir immediately cut down the previous generation legend summoned by the red flesh, while Braham chased after the great demon on the way to support Baal’s city and killed them.
The whole process was passed onto Baal.
Bunhelier, who had been polymorphed into human form for a while to avoid being spotted while infiltrating, also regained his original form and spread out his wings widely. Under the barrage of Jishuka’s arrows, he passed over the heads of screaming demons and entered the interior of Baal’s city with Grid.
Now humanity had gone beyond courage and became energetic. However, this only lasted a moment.
“Even the foolish celestial gods would’ve predicted your cooperation with Bunhelier.”
[The 1st Great Demon, ‘Baal,’ has appeared.]
In a dark hall—Baal sat on a lofty throne and spoke suspicious words. It was the majesty of the demon king and the demon god. The black sky that stretched out above the broken ceiling was filled with thunderclouds.
Braham witnessed the scene from a long distance and frowned. ‘Magic.’
It was even a curse spell that had been prepared over a long period of time. The depth was immense. Braham was in a rare hurry. He drew his staff and released divinity. He hastened to analyze and extinguish the sinister curse magic that was sinking in the distant sky.
He was too late. It was really a small difference. It failed because of the extremely far distance.
Baal’s curse in the form of thunderclouds released thunderbolts. It fell while aiming for Bunhelier, not Grid. An Old Dragon would naturally resist magic, but it was different this time. Against his will, he obediently allowed the approaching thunderbolts that wove together like chains. His big body was tied up tightly.
“What a disgrace...!” Bunhelier roared while struggling.
Baal grinned while still leaning against the throne. “Evil Dragon Bunhelier. This is the reason why you are the only one with a low evaluation among the Old Dragons. What are you saying when you have already been incapacitated once by me in hell? You are so cute.”
It was a huge event. The world was in a state of turmoil.
Grid was baffled by Baal’s thorough preparation and was the same. He almost lost his mind for a moment. It was a notification window that brought his mind back.
[Humanity has recalled the fear they have forgotten for a while.]
In the end—
Grid recovered his composure in a hurry and opened his mouth, “...Even this was expected.”
“Hoh...? You expected it?” Baal had an interested look on his face.
On the other hand, Bunhelier’s expression was terrible. Of course, it was hard to read his expression because he was in the form of a dragon, but it somehow seemed like this.
“What arrogance do you have to accompany Bunhelier even though you know he will be useless? Did you know I would bind that guy and put you on the defensive?” 𝑖𝓷𝘯r𝐞𝐚𝗱. 𝙘om
Grid pulled out Defying the Natural Order. After upgrading his companions’ equipment, he poured out all the remaining ancient scrolls to enhance Defying the Natural Order to +6. A subtle aura was added to the orange divinity and it gave off a mysterious energy like a galaxy in the universe.
“It isn’t arrogance.”
How could he explain this? Grid felt even more pressure from Bunhelier’s glare and gave a rough answer. He didn’t have anything to say so he focused on actions, not words.
Defying the Natural Order cut at the chain of thunderbolts pressing against Bunhelier’s body.
‘Can I cut it?’
He wasn’t sure. From Grid’s perspective, the depth of the curse magic that was just invoked was enormous. He thought it would be very difficult to break the magic that Baal had been preparing for a long time with physical force. However, he had expectations for the power of the dragon weapon and the power of the conditional Sword Saint. It was fine even if he couldn’t cut it. He would pass over it as casually as possible and hurry to think about the next move...
“You did something stupid...” Baal read Grid’s intentions and snorted, only to fall silent. It was because the magic chains were broken by the sword that Grid swung casually.
Bunhelier, who had been crouching like a bird trapped in a small cage, regained his freedom.
‘This worked? Is it the power of enhancement?’
Of course, there was some luck involved. In any case, it was a huge jackpot. Grid barely suppressed his cheers and spoke casually under Baal and Bunhelier’s briefly mesmerized gazes, “Baal, no matter what type of evil scheme you think up, it is of no use against me.”
It was a voice that looked down on him as much as possible. It was an attitude that overshadowed the high throne Baal was sitting on.
[People’s fears are greatly reduced.]
The world started to move according to Grid’s will.
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