Chapter 322. Ark-Roa (1)
There were countless strange creatures and races.
But no matter where one went, there was always a higher mountain among the races.
Hansoo continued to look at the dark rock in his hand as he spoke to Zeus.
“There’s something you need to do.”
“Something I need to do?”
“You said you guys had a way to contact each other, right?”
Though most of them preferred going solo, they still had forms of communication since they were in an alliance after all.
After seeing Zeus nod, Hansoo continued,
“Tell them all to gather here if they want to live.”
Zeus frowned at this.
Hansoo’s expression had always been very carefree.
Even while fighting against him, Hansoo had never lost his composure.
Even when he told Hansoo that there were twelve of them, Hansoo hadn’t seemed scared but rather excited to beat them all up.
But right now, Hansoo was making a very grim expression.
‘What is this…?’
While Zeus was quietly trying to figure it out, there was someone who couldn’t hold back his curiosity.
“What is this anyway?”
Akran’s expression was full of worry.
‘… I didn’t want to get tangled with these guys.’
Akran really, really did not want to get tangled with the transcendents.
But after seeing these tracks, he couldn’t ignore it.
The tracks of something that had passed by.
The tracks left by that mysterious creature stood out so much that everyone could figure out which direction it was heading to.
But the scouts did not dare.
The vicious and greedy aura left behind in those tracks were terrifying enough.
Not to mention the hint of gluttony mixed in.
And shockingly, there was no aura of craziness or evil that they normally felt from a transcendent.
This made it even scarier.
Since this thing wouldn’t hesitate for even a moment before it devoured them.
As if the reason for its very existence was to eat.
So Akran had come to find Hansoo.
He felt like Hansoo would know about it.
Hansoo crushed the stone in his hand and spoke:
At least back when he roamed around the Abyss, the other races called this race the Ark-Roas.
The dark shadows.
They didn’t have actual bodies or even any form of conscious.
Just pure gluttony.
“… Damn. All sorts of damned things exist, huh? Is there only one? Do these things reproduce as well?”
Akran, and those nearby, frowned at Zeus’s question.
One was terrifying enough.
If these things covered the world, then they wouldn’t be able to survive.
But Hansoo shook his head.
“It can’t reproduce.”
But Hansoo continued to speak.
“Because this is only a baby.”
“Well, not really a baby in biological terms, but… more like an egg. It will reproduce after it fully grows up… Yeah, it cannot reproduce. Yet.”
“… What? This is an egg?”
Zeus mumbled, sensing the terrifying aura that radiated from the stones.
At least according to the biology they knew, eggs were weaker than babies.
An existence that can only protect itself with its hard shell.
But an egg that was this strong?
‘… What would it be like if it hatches?’
While Zeus and the others gulped, Hansoo had different thoughts.
‘… What an unfitting place for it to descend.’
If this thing was let loose and allowed to freely devour and evolve…
It could chew up dragons for breakfast, and the demon kings as dessert.
And even Hansoo had only seen one that was fully grown in his previous life.
One <Ark-Roa> had been able to grow while the races of the 6th level of the Abyss were fighting each other.
By the time the other races realized its existence, this thing had grown to the point where it didn’t need to hide itself anymore.
And realizing the situation, all other races came to a ceasefire and united under a single banner to get rid of this one monster.
They had won in the end, but the number of beings on the 6th floor of the Abyss had been reduced to a fourth of its original population.
All from fighting a single Ark-Roa.
So all the races would instantly destroy them as soon as they detected it while still in its infancy, and thus, weaker.
Because of its terrifying potential, it was a race that had reached the point of extinction.
That was the Ark-Roa.
Of course it didn’t belong here.
The place for this thing was the Abyss.
The Abyss where countless races fought amongst each other inside the humongous dimension.
‘… Maybe it could come down because it was an egg.’
Though the elevator seemed to send down anything that came its way, it abided by one strict rule.
The objective of the elevator wasn’t to annihilate the humans, but rather, to watch them fall into misery and despair.
So naturally, there was really a limit to who could come down.
Which meant that this thing really was an egg.
An egg that had been beaten halfway to death, and the weakest amongst its race.
Which made it even more dangerous.
Since a weakened foe was bound to be more aggressive.
Though he didn’t know why it had been calm up until now, it would soon devour everything once it started to move.
To evolve past an egg.
To gather nutrients to be born as a baby.
“So hurry and tell your comrades. Tell them to gather here if they don’t want to get killed.”
Zeus made an understanding expression as he spoke:
“So you’re throwing the others away, right? Only taking the useful ones.”
Akran’s expression turned dark.
And Zeus smirked.
‘No matter how good you act… you’re still a transcendent.’
But Hansoo cut Zeus off.
“The normal adventurers don’t need to worry about it. The rest of you do, though.”
“Have you ever seen a lion lick up ants off the ground?”
‘This should be enough.’
Hermes dropped Demeter down after reaching the guard tower of his city and sighed out.
The dimensional crack that he’d gone through could still be seen behind him.
‘Ugh, all that running is making me real tired.’
It had really been a very long time since he’d run that madly.
It was even more strenuous since he’d been carrying a person along the way.
But Demeter looked worried as she got down from Hermes’s grasp.
“Why did you come here? Why didn’t you go further?”
Demeter and Hermes’s territories were the closest.
Since Hermes settled near her.
Of course it was still a little bit over a hundred kilometers away, but thinking back to that thing’s speed made her worried.
But Hermes chuckled as he grasped her shoulder.
“Why are you in such a rush? You said you’d grant me a wish.”
‘This horny bastard… is that why you came here?’
Demeter frowned inwardly, but soon nodded.
Since she needed him nearby to run away.
‘Well. Let’s just think of it as a form of payment.’
She didn’t really dislike Hermes either, and she felt like they had enough time anyway.
It would take some time for that thing to eat all those bugs, and come all the way over here.
And plus, there was a lot of food beneath them as well.
Right as Demeter was about to hold Hermes, who was slowly approaching her,
“Ah, one moment. How rude of me. Go wait below, and let me prepare something.”
Hermes backed off as he jumped down from the tower.
‘… What did he prepare? He seems to be much more romantic than I’d thought.’
But the moment Demeter sat on the bed.
A chill ran down her back.
Something was approaching them quietly.
From below the very tower where she was in now.
The sound of a huge explosion blew out from where Hermes had jumped down to.
The sound of activation for Hermes’s skill, <God of the Skies>.
And Demeter realized what had happened as she roared out loud.
Hermes had detected it a step before she did.
That the thing had been silently chasing them the whole time.
“You f***ing bastard! How dare you use me as bait?!”
It was too late to run.
Demeter quickly slammed down her foot as she felt the terrifying aura charging up towards her.
The tower collapsed as thousands and thousands of spikes shot out and started attacking the monster.
But it was too late.
The thing that had made her and Hermes run in terror had charged through the spikes and chomped off her lower body.
The moment she was bitten, she knew she wouldn’t be able to survive.
The lower part of her body that had entered its mouth quickly disintegrated, and was sucked away.
Towards another area in its dark body.
Demeter was at a loss as she looked at the creature that was devouring her.
It wasn’t some dumb monster.
‘It learned, huh? That we wouldn’t run if it did that.’
She didn’t know where this thing had come from, but it seemed like the other creatures that lived nearby this thing previously hadn’t been able to run away from it in time, and it hadn’t realized that things could actually run away.
Which was why it had openly charged at them in the beginning.
But as soon as it sensed them running, it changed its tactics.
It hid its aura and launched a sneak attack instead.
Her eyes filled with hate, Demeter looked towards the direction Hermes had run off.
She then slowly closed her eyes with a smile.
‘… At least everyone else will also get killed. Let’s all meet again inside its belly.’
As she left that curse behind, Demeter lost consciousness.
And as her body was devoured, the surface of the dark Ark-Roa changed colors and transformed.
Hansoo spoke towards Zeus and Akran.
They didn’t have a lot of time.
Akran gulped as he nodded.
According to Hansoo’s stories, this world would end if that thing was allowed to grow up.
‘Damn… Why is he making me do this?’
Zeus frowned as he retorted,
“… What are you going to do while we do this?”
Hansoo replied with a short answer.
“I’m going to end this.”
— You’re finally willing to stop acting like a clown.
The seed’s voice rang out within his mind.