◈ Episode 459. Dawn, the Darkest Hour (3)

Grandfell Claudi Arpheus Romeo.

“You do not disappoint me.”

Paimon’s voice was addressed only to Hoyeol.

It’s natural. An entity that is neither an incarnation nor an alter ego. Even if it were said to have reached the realm of anomaly, it is a state so high that it cannot even be expressed in words.

-□□□ □□ □□□□□…….

A distance where Paimon’s forces cannot be seen with the naked eye.

Nothing is heard.

Only the unidentifiable sound of a buzzing mind.

“What the hell?”

Everyone was clutching their eardrums.

“As expected, I don’t understand.”

“……Ms. Jesse Heinness?”

“What the hell, how long have you been there?”

“Just now.”

Jesse, a late arrival on the side of the Great Alliance of the Holy War Alliance.

A cone hat on her head, too.

All she did was look at the situation with concern.

Paimon didn’t mind the silence.

“At least you’re polite.”


That was a feeling that suited his appearance.

Soon, Paimon raised his arm, his jewelry clattering.

His voice was unnecessary.

[Paimon’s forces prepare for battle].

The Demon King of the Ninth Throne.

But Paimon’s strength with his army was in no way inferior to that of the Ten Thrones except Bael. As if to prove it, Paimon’s army fought in a manner unbecoming of a demon.


The army did not rush into battle.

They calmly carried out their king’s orders.

They drew their bows with care.

With a calm breath, they released it as well.


A rain of arrows covered the sky.


Gunner flew into the air in a rush.

The aircraft was able to shrug off most physical impacts.

That one was a different story.

‘……No matter the number of arrows.’

The power of the arrowheads is on another level.

Each one is as powerful as a catapult!

The knowledge of the blacksmith race was telling. With their armaments, with their sharpness, the arrowheads should pierce steel armor with ease.

Gunner leapt to his feet and looked at Hoyeol.

“I hope I don’t have to worry about you, Commander?”

Turning away from Hoyeol, Gunner surveyed the battlefield. Time was running out. He relayed the situation in real time for the Iron Castle, which was about to leap through space and time.

“Behemoth’s Maw, it’s raining arrows here! I’m afraid that even the Iron Castle’s armor will not be able to withstand this hail of arrows. Perhaps the Iron Castle will be turned into a hedgehog.”


“But I’m more concerned about the Holy War Alliance on the ground. The Knights of the Lionheart and the Imperial Army. And while the Adventurers have joined them, they only number a few thousand…….”


“The Paimon Legion’s march is still unending. By my rough count, they number close to half a million. Of course, our commander-in-chief has appeared here, but…….”


Chainwalker’s voice returns.

-The Commander in Chief is there?

“Yes, sir.”

-Gunner, I want you to step away from that spot right now!

Gunner strained his ears.

“What? What does that mean, you want me to retreat now?”

Wasn’t that clear?

The glow of the magic stone faded even more than before.

A small dwarven sigh.

He vowed to spend it on the future of the Holy War Alliance.

Of course, the situation was still hopeless.

Paimon had finally revealed himself, and his legions were still determined to keep coming. Gunner was no stranger to magic. He wasn’t sure whether Hoyeol’s magic would run out first, or whether Paimon’s near-infinite army would be annihilated first.


“It would be a concern. But the situation has definitely improved.”

Hoyeol, who was none other than Hoyeol, appeared.

There could be no better spark for a counterattack.

But what followed left Gunner stunned.

Chainwalker’s urgent voice.

-So if you don’t want to get involved, get out of here!


The voice was so urgent.

Gunner’s body reacted first.

Though his mind still couldn’t comprehend Chainwalker’s reaction.

The hand gripping the controls moved reflexively.


It was then.

The grip tightened.

Lightning began to fall from the dry sky. It was an indiscriminate thunderstorm. Tens of thousands of arrows, tens of thousands of lightning bolts, rained down on Paimon’s army.


Gunner’s breathing slowed for a moment.


-Gunner, are you alright, we’re almost there!

Chainwalker continued to ask for his well-being.

Gunner couldn’t answer.

If only he hadn’t gotten so weak at the controls.

If Chainwalker hadn’t been snarling at him.

He would have been…….


He looked down to the ground and saw the demons vaporized by the lightning without a trace.

Their advanced armor had been reduced to dust.

It would be absurd to expect a fighter to act as a shield.

Gunner opened his mouth.


Gunner’s pupils suddenly widened in horror.

“……What happened in the battle with the Evil Dragon?”

Whether it was fear of Paimon’s unstoppable army.

Whether it was fear for the Commander-in-Chief, Hoyeol.

Gunner wasn’t sure, not even for himself.





He squeezed the reins hard, but the horse didn’t move his hooves. Perhaps they were startled by the thunderstorm. No, these were not weak warhorses, frozen by a mere thunderbolt.

“Master Harkon. The warhorses……!”

At Jessica’s call, Harkon turned around. The warhorses hadn’t even raised their heads, let alone their tails. Enoch spoke in a cautious voice.

“Their muscles are completely frozen. In the rear, the younger, inexperienced horses just fainted. We’re losing knights who have been injured by falling from their horses.”

“What is the situation with the Imperial army?”

“……is not good, either.”

Harkon looked ahead once more.

The battlefield was right in front of them.


His body felt like it was getting heavier and heavier.

Harkon asked himself.

‘Am I now afraid of demons or of death?’

No, it couldn’t be.

The old knight’s eyes blazed with intent.

Two legs and an emperor taken by demons.

And the lands and people of the empire.

Even if I were to die, I would not be able to close my eyes in peace.

So what am I afraid of?

Adventurers who can activate their skills to see what’s going on. They’ve already reported that the Commander in Chief has already arrived on the battlefield and is facing the overwhelming forces of Paimon.

Harkon murmured.

“……I hate to admit it, but.”

I see, I was afraid of you.

A user of the sword aura.

Harkon has crossed the Ridge of Death countless times.

No wonder he’s so sensitive to the aura of death.

The battlefield beyond the halted horses was filled with death.

If anyone dared to step into it.

No one could survive it.

Harkon was certain of that.

Even the Demon King of the Ninth Throne.

Even Paimon.

No mere mortal could unleash such an aura of death.

What he meant was simple.

Harkon’s voice trailed off bitterly.

“……You truly intend to kill everything, Sir.”


An aromatic smell tickled his nose.

“The main course to begin with.”

Paimon continued speaking as he looked at the demon that had been struck by lightning.

“I wanted to serve you the appetizers first, but you’re impatient.”


Paimon accepted the arrow handed to him by the corps commander.

A sharpened arrowhead with a sharpened tip.

A tantalizing appetizer.

There is no shortage of extracting fresh blood.

“Still, it’s your favor, so I’ll take it.”


The thunder was unstoppable.

The army was rapidly crumbling.

But Paimon didn’t care one bit.

No, it was correct to say there was no need to worry.

“Still not done? Very well, by all means.”

Two hundred legions under Paimon.

Compared to his army, which numbered in the millions, the dead now were not even the blood of a bird’s foot. So Paimon relaxed and enjoyed the incense.

Only the Ten Thrones could communicate.

In the realm of ‘consciousness’.

He spoke to Hoyeol.

“There are those who look upon our banquet with envy.”

The Holy War Alliance.

He recognized the humans’ approach long ago. If he wanted to sweep them away, he could have done so long ago. Even now. All it would take was the lift of a finger and they would be wiped out.

Why don’t he do it when he can?

“I like your calm attitude.”

It was a whim.

Looking at the banquet hall in fear.

Because he liked the look of fear.

“See the look of terror on their faces, the way they can’t even think of stepping foot on the battlefield. Very good. It must be your training.”

Paimon’s eyes narrowed for the first time.

“Still, I would prefer a more private confrontation, Claudi. They may not be able to hear our conversation, but ‘they’ can hear our conversation, can’t they?”

Here they were referring to the Ten Thrones.

Paimon’s words stirred the Ten Thrones, who were listening through Evil Eye.

Their agitation seemed to be transmitted through Evil Eye’s pupils.


Paimon twisted the corners of his mouth and clenched his fists.

At the same time.

The floating Evil Eye around him exploded in unison.

“Now, there are no spies. There are none who can hear our conversation, and I, the Venerable Paimon, will confide in you, and tell you everything.”

Paimon’s voice held a hint of disgust.

“Why do I claim the ninth throne? It is because they are so lowly. In short, they are unworthy.”

Venerable Paimon.

“What kind of banquet can I hold, what kind of discussion of the arts can I have, with people who have no understanding of decency and formality? Therefore, I have compromised: I do not want to be bothered by them, so I have claimed the ninth throne.”

Defeat Buer against Paimon.

There was no threat from the new ascendant, Hoyeol.

Paimon’s pupils flashed with delight.

“And yet, you have appeared before me.”

Human, demon, man, beast, or monster.

It didn’t matter.

We have entered the realm of anomaly, breaking down boundaries.

Those concepts were mere shells.

What was more important was the innate nobility hidden behind the shell.

It was dignity and grace.

In that sense.

The being in front of him could have been an equal friend.

“Even in your rampage, you are perfect.”

Even in this moment.

Paimon watched the ranks of his army slaughter indiscriminately.

Only I, as noble as you are.

I alone can understand your feelings.

“I know because I’ve been there.”

How could I not recognize the sadness on your face?

Yes, it is an emptiness I have felt.

But I have overcome it through you.

“You have me.”

For you have known my presence.

You will overcome your sorrow.

A schemer who goes beyond a strategist.

Paimon was made for this moment.

He thought back to the days when he had to deal with the Ten Worms.

“My conversations with them make me nauseous just thinking about them, but that’s okay. It’s because of them that I’ve gotten the chance to face you, and I like to think you’ve responded in kind.”

The proof of the answer is just that.

The humans dared not interrupt the banquet.

They were not overwhelmed by their own numbers.

“Because I didn’t even care about humans. Yes, my dear. It was you who caused the poor beasts to foam and faint, and even the lion-hearted knights to be terrified?”

At that point, Paimon was convinced.

“After all, that is not where you belong.”

I could call you my one and only friend.

“Come, come with me.”

But it didn’t take long for Paimon’s hopes to be dashed.

It didn’t take long.

A voice slipped between Hoyeol’s slowly falling lips.

“I am not alone.”

Not alone?

Is he denying it with those empty eyes?

No, no.

You are alone, as I am.

Only I, alone and noble.

Only I can understand your emptiness…….

The words pierced Paimon’s heart.


Then a brilliant halo filled his vision.

“For I have a ‘ray of light’.”




[Skill ‘Heavenly Infant Solitude’ is deactivated.]