It was a strange sight. A serious fight hadn’t broken out, but things almost reached that point, and many individuals already had their weapons out. It was so mind-boggling that a man would just leisurely stroll through the path left open by the troops of the Monster Alliance like he was walking in his own backyard, but what was even more startling was the monsters’ reaction. They backed away while stealing furtive glances at him, unable to approach.

Most members of the alliance descended from beasts. They were animals that used to live in nature until they coincidentally gained mana, became divine spirits, and established societies. And after a long time, the divine spirits became revered as ancestors and gods of their race; although known to be extinguished now, Fenrir was such an example, who emerged from a group of wandering wolves and became the leader of a region. Back to the point, this meant that the members of the Monster Alliance were acting upon their inherent beastly instincts.

And now, their instincts were ringing like mad with alarm—it was telling them that they must not confront this man—that they needed to step back with their tails between their legs. They hadn’t felt so threatened even when confronting Vepar; although they couldn’t decipher the feeling, and it hurt their pride that they were so intimidated by a single human, every single one of them moved out of the way for him. The man soon arrived at the center of the event.

He appeared to be in his early thirties. His eyes were emotionless, his lips tightly parsed, and he appeared very cold and unwelcoming. He looked so unapproachable that it seemed as if one would feel chilling air radiating from the man should they reach out to him. The long robe dropping down from his shoulders barely covered his calves due to his impressive height, and although he looked slender rather than bulky under the fabric, the way he stood gave an impression of firmness.

The man looked around him with an indifferent face. Ru Amuh’s eyes turned wide open, caught off guard by the man’s unexpected appearance. Ismile had a toothy grin on his face, and the platinum blonde woman crossed her arms while snorting. Finally, Chi-Woo’s mouth gradually dropped open. His head turned blank. He had desperately wanted to see his brother, but didn’t expect to reunite with Chi-Hyun under such circumstances at all. Chi-Woo almost wanted to pinch his cheeks to make sure he wasn’t dreaming. He blinked furiously to make sure, and what he saw didn’t change. It was then he gained some certainty… Yes, it was his older brother, Choi Chi-Hyun. His brother had come to this place.

“You came later than we expected,” the platinum blonde woman said. “How nice it would’ve been if you had arrived a bit earlier.” Her tone was sarcastic, but she was clearly nervous. In fact, she looked like someone who had left a confession letter and was now waiting for a response. However, she didn’t get a single response or a reaction. No, Chi-Hyun didn’t even glance at her, and the woman stopped twirling her fingers, her eyes downcast. Chi-Hyun’s eyes were focused elsewhere.

“Are you ignoring me? Even if it’s you, how could you treat me like this?”

Chi-Hyun turned to the woman as she spoke angrily like he was wondering, ‘Who are you? Do you know me?’ And the woman heaved.

“I’m an Afrilith,” she raised her voice and said, enunciating each word clearly. “My name is Apoline Yelodi Afrilith.”

“…Afrilith?” Chi-Hyun responded.

“Yes. Don’t tell me you don’t know the name?” The platinum-blonde woman, Apoline, said while clenching her jaw.

“I have heard of it before.”

Apoline’s nose tipped higher than the Eiffel Tower.

“But I don’t know you.”

And now her face was angled back down.

“W-What?”

“I’ve heard of the name, but I don’t know a single hero from the family,” Chi-Hyun said.

Apoline’s mouth puckered, seemingly rendered speechless due to the shock. Even if she ignored everything else, giving him the benefit of doubt since Chi-Hyun was famous for being fiercely independent and mysterious, what about her older sister? The one who asked for his hand in marriage many times, but was turned down each time? All sorts of words boiled up inside her, but Apoline swallowed them down, knowing that voicing those thoughts out loud would only disgrace her family’s name.

“…Ah, Apoline. Afrilith. I remember it now.” Chi-Hyun suddenly changed his tune.

“Y-You do?” Her tense expression turned hopeful.

“Yes, I remember it clearly now.” Chi-Hyun nodded and snorted. “You were so persistent. But because things died down after that, I almost thought I had dreamt up the whole thing.”

Apoline’s face hardened. The truth of the matter was…it wasn’t only her older sister who had proposed to a member of the Choi family. At Chi-Hyun’s firm refusals, the Afrilith family changed their strategy and target. They thought they would connect their lovely youngest daughter with the Choi family’s youngest son, who was shrouded in rumors and mysteries. The first and second requests were returned without a response. The third request got a firm refusal, and the fourth request was, for some reason, followed by the intervention of the Celestial Realm’s top administrators, who requested the Afrilith family to stop sending any more requests to Earth. On the fifth attempt, the Afrilith family boldly sent Apoline to Earth to stage a coincidental meeting with the Choi family’s youngest son. That time, Chi-Hyun made a surprise visit to the planet where the Afrilith’s home base was located.

And when he did, he famously told them, ‘If you try to pull another trick like this again, I will make sure the Celestial Realm has eleven lights instead of twelve,’ and then he left. Of course, it was all Apoline’s family’s doing; she was not involved at all. To someone who had grown up with all the love and care her family could offer as the youngest daughter, however, it was a very shameful memory. She couldn’t help but shudder and groan in embarrassment in remembrance.

“It seems you’re misunderstanding something—” Apoline frowned, her words cut short when the previously frozen Murumuru suddenly swung its katana at Chi-Hyun. It was a sudden ambush that came out of nowhere. Even Murumuru didn’t understand why it had made the attack.

Murumuru’s mind had been in chaos as soon as Chi-Hyun approached. Its body refused to move, and when it tried to turn, its body remained low on the ground, contradicting what its brain had instructed it to do. And even as the man talked to a human woman without a single care for it, Murumuru kept feeling fear of death. It didn’t know why, but it felt as if it would die if things continued the way it was.

But Murumuru’s ancestor wasn’t a beast. And its will to live forced it to move its arms and seized the opening while the man was conversing.

Thud!

However, Murumuru’s attack failed. In truth, it had expected the failure, but knowing it was a completely different matter than experiencing it in real life. Murumuru’s breath hitched when it saw its sharp blade caught between Chi-Hyun’s thumb and index finger.

“Uhhhh!” Murumuru swung its sword madly like a child throwing a tantrum without reason or logic. Chi-Hyun was unfazed. He didn’t tilt or shift away from the attacks or look around at his attacker. He simply moved one arm slightly to block all the slashes.

“Yo! Choi!” Seeing this, Ismile called out to Chi-Hyun. “It’s been a while~ How long has it been~? Hmm~?”

Chi-Hyun’s gaze shifted to Ismile.

“You’re surprised, right? Of course! Even though you’re pretending to be calm, I bet you’re at least a little surprised on the inside, thinking I can’t believe Ismile came here!”

“…”

“Hehehehe. I came here because I wanted to see you, Choi~”

Chi-Hyun let out a long breath, “…Well, if it’s you, I guess you’ll be a bit of a help.” Considering that he replied properly this time, they seem to know each other.

“So mean~ How can you say that to a friend you’ve known for a long time~?”

While Chi-Hyun and Ismile were conversing, Murumuru continued to swing its katana without rest while shouting desperately, “Uahhhhhhhhh!”

Ru Amuh stared at the scene in front of him as if he was bewitched. ‘I can’t…believe it.’ That was his immediate thought. As someone who always sought to make the most efficient move and had a talent rarely seen in the universe, he could clearly sense that Chi-Hyun’s abilities and skills were far beyond his. Chi-Hyun wasn’t blocking Murumuru’s attacks. He was reading the flow of Murumuru’s attacks and making the minimal movement to ‘pass through’ all of them. Murumuru was probably feeling as if its katana was slicing through empty air. The way Chi-Hyun moved was so mind-chillingly beautiful that Ru Amuh felt a sense of endless despair. Even if he died and reincarnated a hundred times, he would never be able to reach that level of efficiency.

“…So.” Ismile smiled thinly when he saw Murumuru was just about ready to burst into tears. “When are you going to stop playing?”

As soon as he said that—

Bam! With a casual flick of his hand, Chi-Hyun sent Murumuru flying like a bullet.

“What…?” When Murumuru managed to open its eyes, the first thing it saw was the sky quickly whipping by. Then it noticed the wind sweeping past its body. By the time it realized that it was in the air, Murumuru briefly came to a halt midair before feeling another strong push. Chi-Hyun slammed his palm down.

Thud!

Like it was getting sucked down by an underwater current, Murumuru plummeted to the ground. It collided so hard that it bounced several times like a bouncy ball in the same place. It was only after Chi-Hyun caught Murumuru’s head that it stopped bouncing. Chi-Hyun bent Murumuru’s head back, revealing its now completely blood-stained face and lifeless eyes. In a matter of seconds, the half-demon had lost all will to fight.

When it fought Vepar, Murumuru’s attacks had at least land, but it seemed completely futile to fight this human. After checking Murumuru’s condition, Chi-Hyun turned toward the monster alliance.

After a short silence, Sruthos stepped forward. “I’m Sruthos from the Gigas Tribe.”

“…Gigas Tribe?”

Chi-Hyun’s head slightly tilted as he looked at the giant. “You don’t seem very strong for a gigas.”

“…I’m not strong enough to be a striker.”

“Of course not.” Chi-Hyun spoke indifferently and continued, “I’m Choi Chi-Hyun.”

The name alone triggered a commotion among the heroes. They had thought he might be Chi-Hyun as soon as he made his entrance, but a real legend had appeared in front of them. The fifth recruits were especially happy. The tension and nervousness on their faces evaporated completely, and they all seemed to be thinking, ‘you guys are all doomed now.’

On the contrary, Sruthos was extremely cautious. His following words were also incredibly humble and obsequious for a monster from the Gigas Tribe, which was said to be on par with the last dragon. “Would you please not kill Murumuru?” It couldn’t be helped; Sruthos could feel an immeasurable power from Chi-Hyun, and even if all their forces rushed to fight him, they wouldn’t be able to beat him.

Sruthos continued, “Murumuru has certainly made a great mistake, but it is still a member of the Cassiubian League. If you safely give Murumuru back, we’ll make sure to give it severe punishment.”

No matter how much they liked or disliked Murumuru, the half-demon was still a member of the alliance and the next chief of the half-demon tribe. If the other monsters found out that Murumuru died at the hands of a human, a good number of races would turn against all humanity. Sruthos, who thought they should join hands with humans after witnessing Chi-Woo’s ability, would like to prevent that.

Chi-Hyun, who had been staring at Sruthos silently, said, “Is this an order?”

“No, it’s a request.”

“Request?” Chi-Woo looked to his left and right. “You’re asking a request while holding weapons?”

“If you would allow it, I'd like to talk to you.”

“Okay.” Chi-Hyun added a condition, “If you drop your weapons and kneel on the count of three, I’ll consider it.”

“That’s—”

“Three, two, one.” Chi-Hyun slightly narrowed his eyes after one-sidedly announcing his condition, and a shocking scene unfolded.

With a thud, all the members of the alliance dropped their weapons and kneeled. The monsters broke out in groans. They hadn’t done so by their own will, but forced down by an indescribable pressure from a foreign power. Furthermore, even Sruthos, who had an inherently high resistance as a gigas, had fallen to one knee. An entire monster alliance troop was stamped down by one person. Sruthos stared at Chi-Hyun with trembling eyes. It hadn’t expected Chi-Hyun to be so overpowering. His strength was beyond the level of one army; perhaps not even the last dragon, who had the power to destroy a continent, nor the number one ranked great demon, Baal, would be able to defeat him.

Chi-Hyun walked forward while clutching Murumuru’s drooping head. As he thought about how he should destroy these monsters—

“…Don’t do it.” He suddenly heard a small whisper. “Stop.”

“?” Normally, he wouldn’t have expected such words to be directed at him, and even on the rare occasion that it happened, he would have let it go in one ear and out the other. However, the voice sounded so familiar that he did stop and even turn around. At the same time, Chi-Woo took a step to the side from behind Ru Amuh.

The older brother met the eyes of his younger brother. And Ismile saw a clear reaction in Chi-Hyun’s gaze.

“Aghhhhhhhh!”

Chi-Hyun suddenly clutched onto Murumuru’s head to the point of crushing it, and his ever-indifferent eyes violently fluctuated and shook.

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