She was being watched by Baal’s familiar. Upon learning this new fact, Rose felt joy, not panic. The only great demon among players.
Who else but me is the right person to be Baal’s Contractor, a position that is currently vacant?
The thoughts that had been hidden in the dark rose to the surface. Baal’s surveillance came with mixed interest.
‘My loyalty to Amoract... I don’t need to keep it.’
It was purely because of Amoract that Rose became a great demon. However, Rose hadn’t seen any benefits to being a great demon. The strength gained in exchange for many inconveniences had been repeatedly trampled on before it could even see the light. At every important moment, she only had memories of meeting the Overgeared Guild and being crushed.
It wasn’t because Rose was incompetent. Rose participated in large-scale quests every time, but each time, she was pushed in terms of strategy and tactics because the leadership positions were empty. Among the demons, the clever ones were rare. In the first place, the clever ones didn’t go to war. They were busy working secretly and taking care of their own interests.
In any case, Rose didn’t feel the need to be loyal to Amoract. Rose thought it would be more convenient to be by Baal’s side, rather than being on the side of Amoract, who was obsessed with Yura even though Rose was beside her. In the first place, Baal was the 1st ranked Great Demon. She had to get on his ship well.
‘Let’s accept the scouting offer!’
"W-What?" Rose questioned Agnus, who was cursing.
It was stinging, like Agnus had read her heart. However, Agnus’ gaze was fixed on her back, not on Rose. It was on the wriggling and swaying darkness.
"That shadow is Baal’s filth. The moment you step foot into hell, everyone will have that filth in their shadows. Baal isn’t watching over you because he thinks you are special."
Agnus only discovered this after he was disqualified from being Baal’s Contractor. The moment when he was exhausted and weakened, the filth that had been attached to his shadow popped out. It recovered the power he had built up as Baal’s Contractor...
Agnus understood many things from then on. How did Baal know most of what was going on in hell like it was on the palm of his hand? What means did he use to ‘absorb’ and ‘transfer’ the power of dead demons and demonic creatures?
"Contrary to its appearance, hell is under the complete control of Baal. It is no more or less than Baal’s playground. There is nothing more worthless than having a purpose or finding meaning there."
All beings bound to hell ultimately had their fates determined according to Baal’s will. Agnus had actually witnessed it several times. The sight of the demons, who were saved by Baal, gained strength due to Baal, and praised Baal, only to be eventually betrayed by Baal, ridiculed, cursed at, and killed due to Baal. All those who associated with Baal would face the same end.
"A-Amoract is different, right?" Rose asked with an awkwardly stiff face. She was reminded of Agnus’ personality. Agnus was a madman in everyone’s eyes, but he rarely spoke empty words. One of the reasons why he was treated like crazy and hated by people was due to his outspoken attitude of always telling the truth. He was a person who had no lies or pretenses because he didn’t intend to get along with people. That was Agnus.
"Isn’t her existence itself too much of a curse to trust her?" Agnus answered immediately without thinking about it.
The Great Demon of Conflict—a curse that drove people into a frenzy just by looking into her eyes. Someone who faced her would perceive an ally as an enemy. Even legends couldn’t resist it. A long time ago, Agnus had experienced it firsthand. He had encountered Amoract, who visited Baal’s palace.
-Agnus, your tongue has grown longer.
Baal’s familiar emerged from Rose’s shadow and opened his mouth. No, there was no organ called a mouth. A voice permeated his mind every time the black smoke rose. It had an unsightly appearance, but Agnus knew this was a prominent figure despite his outward appearance.
The eyes and ears of Baal.
He was someone who maintained his ego and carried out Baal’s will even when he was broken into billions of pieces. There was a high probability that he was one of the strongest in hell along with the three evils of the beginning. It wasn’t particularly surprising. Among the gods, it could be debated that the only one god called ’Chiyou’ was the strongest. However, ordinary people often didn’t know about Chiyou’s existence. It was right that even in hell, there was hidden a strong existence that people didn’t know about.
-What qualifications do you have to discuss hell when you have been kicked out.
"What qualifications do I need to talk about a pile of shit? This stupid jerk." Agnus was honest about his feelings.
I want to resurrect my dead lover in the game.
He hated demons even in the days when he was trying to achieve that futile goal, so there was no need to talk about now.
"W-Wait. Is this okay?"
Rose stepped back with a pale face. It was because she received all types of abnormal statuses the moment the black shadow gradually took a certain shape. A great demon naturally resisted most status abnormalities, but this was an exception. In the end, she felt a terrible fear from the fragment of Asura, which completed his human form and stretched out three pairs of arms.
Killing intent was clearly directed toward Agnus, Rose, and the villagers. It was an attempt to eliminate all witnesses. No, it could be killing intent for no reason. A demon was basically this type of being.
"It should be fine."
It wasn’t the main body, it was just one of billions of fragments. Agnus snorted and summoned his death knights and skeleton army.
Rose doubted her ears. It was because Agnus ordered some skeletons to ‘protect the villagers.’
‘What? Why is he doing this?’
Agnus was famous for his contempt of the weak. He was called a mad dog because he hated and harmed the weak as if they didn’t deserve to live. It was often rumored that he didn’t treat women harshly, but of course, it was just a rumor. Yet at this moment, Agnus was protecting people. He made no distinction between men and women and gave priority to caring for the weak. He seemed no different from the ordinary people who were inspired by Grid’s heroism and talked about justice.
Was it the aftermath of losing his power? Did he decide that he needed to shake off the notoriety he had built up in the past in order to gain a foothold?
It was the wrong decision. Agnus had been a villain for nearly 15 years. Doing good deeds now wouldn’t change people’s perceptions of him.
‘I know it best. In the end, it is just a means of self-gratification.’
He might not be able to wash away his sins, but he wanted to get rid of the sense of guilt. This was really an uncool guy.
If you play the villain, you should live as a villain until the last minute.
Rose clicked her tongue, but still cooperated with Agnus. It was obvious that she would also be a target of Asura if she remained still. After solving the misunderstandings, she had to survive and obtain the paper and pen to safely complete the quest.
Rose thought it was quite doable when she first exchanged some blows. It was because the fragment of Asura only had a slight advantage over herself and Agnus was undoubtedly a strong player.
‘It is creepy to know that a familiar is on the level of a great demon.’
Rose remembered the big frog she had seen during the Great Human and Demon War.
Chepardea—he was also Baal’s familiar, but he had a power equivalent to a single digit great demon. The same was true of Amoract’s henchman, Yukal. It was only when she saw them that she understood.
Meanwhile, the fragment of Asura was only a small part of Asura. It meant it could only exert the strength of a fingernail or a hair compared to the main body. Even so, he was on par with a great demon. At this point, wasn’t Asura’s main body not much different from the three evils of the beginning?
Rose wondered what Asura’s identity was. It was for a very short time. It was a momentary curiosity, but the price she paid for it was very high.
The shadow that took the form of Asura suddenly grew and pierced Rose’s chest. She had enormous health compared to an average player, but a huge 20% of her health was blown away with one blow. It was a destructive power she had never experienced even against the Overgeared Guild. Her head was blank for a moment when Agnus’ voice permeated her ears, "So it is like this. The other fragments have gathered. Tsk."
The fragments of Asura were in the shadows of all beings who stepped foot onto the land of hell. This meant he wasn’t just spying on demons and demonic creatures. Recently, humans had been traveling freely to hell and back, so they were all in the palm of Baal’s hand. It was natural that there would be more fragments of Asura in the immediate vicinity.
Yes, just like right now.
The fragment of Asura grew his body using the shadows that started to gather from all directions and burst out laughing. He seemed to be the type that maintained reason only when he was individually separated.
"...Can you take the people and run away?"
"Huh...?" Rose trembled and looked dumbfounded.
Agnus explained it to her, who was questioning it while blinking her big eyes, "They are the ones who did me a favor when I was lost and wandering with nowhere to go. I just hope that they don’t die because of me."
"Because of you...? Isn’t it because of me? This wouldn’t have happened if I hadn’t come here by chance."
"I was the one who touched your shadow."
In fact, Rose was the one to blame. Agnus’ position was discovered because of her and he was in a position where he must bear the invasion of demons one day. However, now wasn’t the time to blame people, but to cooperate. The lives of hundreds of people were at stake.
Agnus no longer overlapped his weak self with those who became victims because they were weak. He didn’t feel hate. In fact, this had been the case for a long time. It was just that Baal’s Contractor was a villain. He could only achieve his purpose by hurting people, so he was forced to turn away from his true heart. His desire to save his dead lover was far greater than the weight of his true heart.
"Okay. Instead, there are conditions. Give me the best pen and paper in the world in return. Shouldn’t you have a lot of money?"
Rose didn’t miss Agnus’ wrist, which was revealed through his long sleeves. White bones without a single piece of flesh.
Agnus’ race wasn’t human. A lich? A death knight? In any case, he was an undead. He was likely to be one of the few players she could interact with. If possible, she wanted to form a connection with him.
Agnus agreed to the deal and Rose spread open her wings. Each great demon had their own power. She used Giant Transformation and surrounded the people with magic to float them in the air.
First of all, she planned to get out of here quickly. However, her plan didn’t come true. Two additional shadows flew from a distance. The fragments of Asura ripped her wings apart. Then they merged with the human figure shadow and became even larger.
Even Agnus was overwhelmed and a sense of tension dominated the small town. People were confused and Rose became impatient when her magic was canceled.
"Open the Rune of Death." Agnus pulled out the power of the rune. After checking that the power of the seven malignant saints, ‘Supreme Ruler,’ was working normally, he rushed toward fragment of Asura’s. The fragment of Asura had a definite advantage. The level of the one who increased his strength by summoning the fragments was comparable to that of the 20th Great Demon, but it wasn’t at a level that Agnus could handle right now. Nevertheless, Agnus had Bentao’s Mockery. It was a trump card that allowed the possibility of a reversal against anyone.
The more Agnus gritted his teeth, the louder Asura’s laughter grew. He didn’t defend against any attacks. He laughed like he felt a huge pleasure whenever he cut his enemies and when his body was cut. Thanks to this, Agnus was able to enjoy the effect of Supreme Ruler, which had a probability of doubling the damage of every basic attack. Even so, his hope gradually diminished.
The undead body wasn’t as hard as it seemed. The undead easily resisted most debuffs and physical status abnormalities, but this was due to the setting that their emotions were light and they didn’t feel pain. His bones, which lost muscle and flesh, were vulnerable to breaking with each attack.
Agnus’ combat power quickly weakened.
-I’ll also peel off the skin of your face to match that body. Kikik.
It happened as Asura seized the victory and laughed lightly...
A three-pronged beam of light that fell from the ground pierced Asura’s upper body. Asura raised his head in a hurry and muttered curiously.
Two dragon weapons cut Asura’s body in half.
[The effect of God's Command is activated and the skill cooldown is reset.]
[The opponent has been wounded by another power of the seven malignant saints, Supreme Ruler.]
[The hidden bond effect, ‘Will of the Seven Malignant Saints,’ will occur!]
[The next skill used with God's Command will have the blessing of Supreme Ruler. The damage will be doubled.]
Asura didn’t know pain. He didn’t change his expression and moved the body split in two at the same time.
An attempt was made to counterattack against the intruder armed with powerful dragon weapons and armor. The sight of six arms, each holding a different weapon, moving in unison was dazzling.
However, Grid had as many as 30 hands. They were hands that moved in a spiral and nullified Asura’s attacks. More than anyone else, Grid himself was the most surprised.
Tai Chi wasn’t a skill. Unlike the God Hand’s artificial intelligence that used a skill when a specific command value was entered, this was a normal attack with a strange harmony. Therefore, Grid believed that he had to give orders so that the God Hands could use Tai Chi. Now he saw that 30 God Hands had learned Tai Chi. Grid wondered if they had reviewed what Grid had taught them over the past few days.
‘...It is possible enough.’
Ordinary people used their experience in the game in reality, while they used their experience in reality in the game. Just because it was the God Hand’s artificial intelligence didn’t mean it was impossible.
Rose and the people watched blankly while Grid smiled in a convinced manner.
"Kill me." Agnus, who burned and destroyed the torn fragments of Asura, extended his neck to Grid.