Proof of the Devil’s Existence
“Hey, it’s been a while. I’ve been waiting to see you again.”
It’s been about half a year since we last met. It was no surprise that she looked exactly the same as she did in my memory.
Pure white hair, skin and clothes. Among them, only her blood-red crimson eyes shone eerily. A girl with the inorganic beauty of a doll.
And she is one of the strongest human who wears the silvery white aura that is the proof her being an Apostle.
The fact that she was able to block even the first full-bodied [Black Calm] that I threw at her without difficulty makes me realize the difference in ability that separates her and me even now.
She is strong, after all.
But, I declared again. Just as I did when I pointed my blade at her on the walls of Daedalus.
“Sariel, this time I will kill you…!
I’m pretty sure she gave me the same cold response back then too.
It’s a good idea to take a look at your own personal life. It’s a good idea to take a look at your own personal life.
“You have killed too many Crusaders. It is my shame as an Apostle to have missed you twice.”
“Do you want me to thank you? Or was it penance?”
“I don’t know. But I can’t let you escape anymore.”
What do you have in your mind then? Sariel blinked once and answered my unasked question.
“Kurono Mao, I will kill you.”
That was the first time Sariel’s killing intent was directed at me.
The memory of my defeat came back vividly. The shiver of white etched in my brain appealed to me. Run.
“Sariel, I’ve told you before to come at me with the intent to kill.”
But the fear in my chest was overshadowed by the joy that welled up from the depths of my soul.
“Now we are finally equals.”
Sariel finally recognized me as an enemy. It’s no longer a clownish fight where I’m the aggressor.
It’s all about this one battle.
Today is the day I – no, we – will defeat Sariel, the Apostle.
“Here we go, formation ‘Anti-Cross’!”
At that moment, a flash of red and white light struck Sariel as I readied my machete.
In the right, the white beam shining white was Lily’s [Flash White Arrow]. And in the left, the raging red lotus tornado was Fiona’s [Flaming Long Spear]. Both of them were standing behind me so I couldn’t see them but just feeling their magical power was very encouraging.
Sariel, who was caught from the left and right by the Advanced-level attack magic, lightly kicked the ground and jumped backward, and landed at the next moment. She disappeared beyond the great explosion of fire and light.
“—[Shield ‘d Earth]”
In the midst of the white light and scorching explosions, I chose a pseudo-earth defensive magic instead of the [Grenade Burst] as a follow-up attack.
As soon as the shield had been formed, a dull sound rang out suggesting that something strongly hit the shield.
“As usual, even her low-grade spells pack quite a punch.”
In the past, I had been helplessly shot through by a low-level, non-chanted attack magic called [White Stake]. But this time, I stopped it, even though the tip of the spear was peeking out from the shied, I stopped it.
She is not an opponent we can defeat just because we caught her iff-guard. Even after suffering a surprise attack, she still pulled of a strong counterattack.
“But that counterattack is bad.”
The wind dispersed the black smoke, and Sariel appeared with a plain look on her face. She was still unharmed. There was not a single scorch in her pure white dress.
But neither I, Lily, nor Fiona wanted to do any damage with this attack. We had only one goal. We wanted to destroy the possibility of getting Sariel to distance herself from this place at all costs.
If we just throw in a few random attacks, Sariel will surely counterattack in a reasonable manner. It’s too risky to give up the initiative, and if we don’t make an honest move, she’ll be wary.
Well, our plan is not that difficult to execute. The point is that Sariel should not be more than a hundred meters from us.
Fiona is skilled enough to succeed under that condition.
“Then, Kurono, Lily. Good luck.”
I looked back at Fiona, who told us so like it was someone else’s affair.
“Oh, leave it to me.”
Fiona stood in front of my gaze as I answered that. Fiona’s long, light blue hair – yes, long hair that fluttered in the wind – was impressive to no end.
This is the second time I had seen her like this. And I have the same impression.
She looks like a devil.
“Here we go – [Purgatory Barrier].”
At that moment, everything in the world was enveloped in red flames as the long-haired Fiona murmured those words.
In the final level of the Rank 3 Dungeon, “Underground Tomb of Resurrection”, we were testing the powers of our new divine protections. We were in a colosseum-like plaza filled with undead monsters, and in front of us was the Dungeon’s main boss Lich.
“Let’s go, Lily, Fiona — Formation ‘Anti-Cross’.”
Fiona had the first to move in this formation.
This may be the first time she is truly activating the power of her divine protection, but her expression was as pensive as ever, and she didn’t seem nervous at all.
Then, she quietly murmured.
“An evil deeper than original sin: Endymion, the Black Witch.”
Suddenly, something like black mist erupted from Fiona’s body. It was an aura of black light that was both evil, like a curse, and divine, like a holy miracle.
Apparently, the divine protection was activated successfully. But there’s more to this.
“[Proof of the Devil’s Existence]”
Fiona had told me beforehand that the magic with such a wicked name was a kind of enhancement. So she told me not to be too surprised.
However, I realized at this moment that this was an impossible request.
Because the magic was not an enhancement, but rather a transformation.
As the black aura burst forth, it became a single pillar that enveloped Fiona’s body. Her eyes were closed, and she looked peaceful, as if she was sleeping soundly. She looked completely defenseless, but the Lich didn’t attack.
Perhaps he knew it was futile. Her aura had an emanation of God’s power, and now that power was being deployed in high density, it was as if we were separated by a dimensional wall. The attacks of this world cannot reach the world of God.
In the space between these worlds, Fiona’s body began to change.
First, her hair grew longer. Her short light blue hair, which could be called her trademark, spread out in a flash, as if it had been tied up at that length from the beginning.
Her blue hair, which stretched long past her waist, was as beautiful and shimmering as a waterfall of clear water gently falling.
And in contrast to the crystalline beauty of her hair, horns sprouted as if to symbolize her terrifying power.
Two large, twisted horns. Should I call them like Baphomet’s, or Diabolos’? Either way, the horns, with their crystal-clear color and pale phosphorescence, had a devilish shape to them.
It was the first time I had ever seen such a thing.
“… Looks like it worked.”
Fiona, with long hair and horns, woke up, muttering with a powerful voice that echoed throughout my soul like a cursed will.
The moment I saw her eyes open, a chill ran down my spine.
Her golden eyes, as beautiful as the sun, were still the same shade, but their radiance had become a magical light, similar to that of a pile of gold that makes people fall in love with desire.
“She has [Charm] activated, Kurono. You’d better not stare too much.”
I immediately looked away from Fiona at Lily’s explanation, which seemed somewhat cold.
However, Fiona’s appearance is so beautiful that it would not have been surprising if [Charm] were a passive ability of hers. Normally, we are so close to each other that I almost forget that she is a ridiculously beautiful girl.
If the magic of the Black Witch Endymion had imbued her beauty with true enchantment, then yes, that would indeed be a witch-like change.
However, Fiona’s appearance, with her two horns and demonic eyes like the magic eyes of fascination, was more like a devil’s than a witch.
“You look like a devil.”
“Yes, you’re right, Kurono. My divine protection is [Proof of the Devil’s Exis–].”
Fiona line was interrupted when she leaned forward to look at me who was looking away.
“”انها رجل غبي!”
The Lich unleashed a black muddy stream with the consistency of sludge which swallowed Fiona. I’m not sure if it’s an attack or a taunt to Fiona for exposing herself.
Either way, it was the skeleton raising his staff in an exaggerated pose that was ridiculous.
“It’s a magic that turns people into devil.”
In other words, devilization.
As if there were no Lich’s attack, Fiona completed the explanation at her usual pace.
The black sludge’s range attack that hit her was instantly engulfed in flames, as if it was actually oil. The filthy black was painted into a blazing red, just like a cleansing flame.
The only thing that remained was Fiona, the devil, who looked beautiful without a single stain.
“So, now that the devilization have gone well, let’s get started.”
It was only then that Fiona turned her gaze to Lich, as if she had noticed his presence.
The skull-headed Lich with the deafening rattle of his voice raised his staff, probably to attack again, and at the same time, Fiona gracefully raised her long staff ‘Ains Bloom’ whose design seemed to have slightly changed as well. Anyway, it’s time for us to attack!
“Fall into the primordial fire, [Purgatory Barrier].”
And so, Fiona’s World Dimensional magic was activated.
It was only for a moment that I had this horrible feeling that the whole world was going to burn, that my body and soul were going to be consumed by the burning agony. It was not a pain that bothered me, as if I would forget the heat if it passed my throat.
“Apparently, it worked.”
When I opened my eyes, I saw the majestic mountains spreading out before me. However, they were tinged with red, the opposite of the snowy mountains in the middle of winter.
They were volcanoes.
Each mountain range, steeper than the Galahad Mountains that towered before us, was erupting from its summit with great force. The magma that erupted everywhere, as if it did not allow any life to exist, formed many great rivers and illuminated the world with a glaring orange glow.
In the midst of all this, I was standing on what looked like a flat rocky hillside. It seemed to be at a certain altitude, as I could see the surrounding scenery, but there were only large rocks strewn in front of me and to the left and right of me, making it look like an open wilderness.
On the other hand, if I turn my gaze to the sky, I will find a more devastating view than the one on the ground.
The sky was as red as blood. The sky was filled with an eerie red color, completely different from dusk. No matter where I looked, east, west, south, north, or southwest, I could not find anything that looked like the sun.
Instead, there were huge black clouds coming from all directions, rumbling and glowing with red thunder. Today’s weather was stormy. No, it must be like this all the time, because the sky looked the same when we defeated the Lich.
But I guess I’ll never get used to seeing such an end-of-the-world view of the burning Earth and vermilion-tinted sky. If I were suddenly thrown into a place like this, I would probably go insane in less than a week due of despair.
But then again, I came to this place of my own volition. For me, this hell is more like a glorious land full of hope.
“Welcome to the world of Purgatory, Sariel.”
I threw my welcome to her, her white hair and clothes swaying in the scorching breeze, her face as cold and expressionless as ever, without a bead of sweat on her face.
“This is a… World Dimensional magic.”
“Yes, you are correct.”
But I can’t think of any other reason why such a massive change on a global scale would have occurred.
It’s not that the Galahad Mountains suddenly erupted, it’s just that we were trapped in a part of the divine world inhabited by the Black Witch Endymion, manifested by Fiona.
“So, how do you feel?”
“There’s a great deal of malice here.”
“Maybe it’s because the Black Gods are watching us.
The Lord of this world, of course, and probably the old Demon Lord, too. I’m sure they must be giving us a lovely cheers.
“And the White God is not looking at you. As long as you’re here, you’re invisible to him.”
I don’t mean that in an abstract sense, because Purgatory is the farthest place from Heaven after Hell. It’s about a real change, a change that is clearly visible.
“What’s the matter Sariel, your white aura is gone?”
This time I blinked twice. Sariel’s big eyes fluttered. This was quite surprising.
Perhaps because she has never experienced her aura being erased before.
It is natural for an Apostle who boasts the foul ability of divine protection of being constantly supplied with unlimited white magic power by the White God. It is impossible for the aura, which is essentially her own magic power, to disappear only during battle.
But at this moment, the silvery glow of Sariel’s body had disappeared.
“In Pandora, there are places where the divine protections disappear. It is usually the in most dangerous Dungeons in the world. …In short, Purgatory is one of them.”
As thanks for my lecture, Sariel remained standing there.
She just stared at me with her crimson eyes.
After a few seconds of staring, Sariel opened her small mouth.
“I’ve received information that the Apostles have been weakened three times before.”
Sariel brilliantly guessed the fundamental element of the formation ‘Anti-Cross’. You can’t help but notice it when you experience it firsthand.
“I guess we’re all thinking the same thing. Just so you know, ours is the original. We got the hint from a dumb Apostle, though.”
I’ll never forget the sixth day of the First Month of Fire. The 8th Apostle Ai appeared on the road leading to Spada. We were forced to play a silly game of duel, but thanks to that, we learned the usefulness of weakening the Apostles.
At that time, we took advantage of the fact that Ai’s hair clip was a limiter that suppressed the power of the Apostles, and Lily was able to set up a jammer to break the seal, bringing us one step closer.
In order to disguise herself as an adventurer, Ai probably went to the trouble of wearing a limiter to hide the power of an Apostle, an item that would strangle her. She must have had a sense of pride, thinking that she could release it at any time if the need arose.
In the end, it was only a strategy to take advantage of carelessness, and in the end, we suffered defeat, but still, if Ai had not regained the power of an Apostle, there is no doubt that we could have killed her as she was.
“I’m still not strong enough to defeat you. But how about now? Now that we’ve suppressed the power of that monstrous Apostle…”
The formation ‘Anti-Cross’ was born when Fiona received the World Dimensional magic [Purgatory Barrier] with the divine protection of the Black Witch, Endymion.
In the first place, it is a common belief in Pandora that places where divine protection are weakened or extinguished are places where the power of a particular God is very strong. If a place is associated with a legend, the divine protection of that God may become more powerful, and vice versa, and this phenomenon can be seen all over the world, with varying degrees of influence.
The Asbel Mountain Range, where the Last Rose was nesting, is one such place. In the middle of the mountain, the effect was that only the divine protection of the Gods with the Ice-attribute become a little stronger, but deep in the mountain range, where Rank 5 monsters roamed, only Ice-attribute divine protections could be used. It’s called the [Frozen Realm] where even divine protections are frozen.
Even in the real world, the effect is that great. In addition, when it comes to the world itself, where God lives, it goes without saying that the power of the freeze would be even greater.
However, this purgatory was only partially manifested by Fiona through magic, so Endymion’s control was only partial.
In other words, Sariel has not completely lost the power of an Apostle yet.
“I’ve never had my power suppressed to such an extent before.”
She could no longer afford to joke about being flattered by my compliment.
“But I can still kill you.”
A silvery-white aura erupted from Sariel’s body once again, and as if to say that she had been saving her strength until now, she burst into a torrent of white magic power, denser and more luminous than ever.
“We’ve been preparing ourselves to kill you until today. Including the useless chats I’ve had with you since we came here.”
Fiona’s [Purgatory Barrier] is probably more complete as a World Dimensional magic than Linfent’s [Sanctuary]. There is a big gap between merely creating a wall of the world and calling up the world itself.
However, it has a big disadvantage in that it has a short activation time and is unstable.
Perhaps, it is just a superb magical effect that is beyond one’s control. It’s not something that can be fixed with a little practice. The fact that Fiona was able to activate 100% of this magic in this way, even though she hasn used it only once before, was proof of her genius sense of magic.
I’ve not been lazily lecturing Sariel because I want to boast about the power of this Purgatory Bound Inferno Fall.
I did so to buy time. If Sariel hadn’t listened to me, I would have had to fight my way through this little time alone for that time. Thank God she was foolish enough to engage with me in that conversation.
“Let me show you another divine protection of the Black Gods…”
I raised my right hand wide, as if grasping the red-hot heavens. It was a sign that the formation “Anti-Cross” was moving to the second stage.
Then I called for her in the sky of this purgatory.
“Let’s go, Lily, combine!”