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    Enjoy this chapter!

    Morres Klein, the third prince of the Holy Empire Delcross.

    A dog under the tiger’s skin[1].

    The imperial family’s unprecedented disgrace.

    Unlike his father, who was evaluated as the most powerful emperor in history, this pig-like ruffian prince was an unworthy son who had inherited neither talent with the sword nor a shred of divine power.

    Above all, his fiery temper and vulgar words and actions, which did not resemble the emperor’s calm disposition at all, were not without an excessive sense that they could not be seen as just the rashness of a young, immature prince.

    It would not be unreasonable for some cardinals or high priests to whisper that perhaps Prince Morres might not be the emperor’s biological son.

    However, even for Prince Morres, who seemed like he would be a ruffian forever, a turning point for change came.

    One day, he suddenly collapsed with a terrible fever and suffered from a high fever that hovered between life and death for four days, but after regaining consciousness, he had completely become a different person.

    ‘After nearly dying, a person can change like that.’

    Everyone thought so and passed it off as nothing special, but in fact, there was a reason behind the prince’s sudden reformation and becoming a new person that was not easy to confide in others.

    It was because the one who opened his eyes in Morres’ body, which was on the verge of death due to the fever, was actually an Earthling named Lee Seongjin.

    * * *

    From a young age, Lee Seongjin was a child with a strange tenacity.

    With his stubbornness of having to see things through to the end once he started something, even as a baby, his parents had to experience extremely difficult parenting despite him being an only son.

    “Just who did that kid take after to be so stubborn?”

    Seeing her son stubbornly sucking on a pacifier even after he turned 4 years old, his mother’s eyes brimmed with tears. It was because she was worried that his teeth might be ruined.

    Fortunately, his baby teeth grew in beautifully and evenly.

    When he became a kindergartener, just when it seemed like his interest in pacifiers had finally waned, he started insisting on not going home at the end of the day.

    Promising to give him snacks at home or coaxing him to go see Pororo together was of no use at all.

    To the kindergarten teachers who were looking at her with suspicious eyes, wondering if there was abuse at home for him to dislike going home so much, the mother could only give an awkward smile.

    In the end, a routine continued where the mom and dad took turns carrying the child and wandering around playgrounds until Seongjin fell asleep, then going home late at night.

    When their son became an elementary school student and seemed a little more mature, his parents finally breathed a sigh of relief. At least he was at an age where he could communicate now.

    That is, until he came home with a classmate’s crayons that he had snatched away, and the next day, there was a call from the homeroom teacher.

    It was a short-lived peace.

    “That kid knocked over my crayons and broke them all. I got these in return.”

    “Seongjin-ah. Even though Hyung-Chul apologized and said he was sorry, forcibly taking a friend’s things is wrong.”

    The child’s eyes narrowed.

    “Is it all okay just because he says sorry? What about my crayons?”

    “Mom can just buy you crayons again.”

    “Hyung-Chul did something wrong, so why should Mom buy them for me? The person who caused the accident should take responsibility.”

    At her son’s retort, the mother was at a loss for words. From the child’s perspective, it was not wrong.

    After hesitating for a moment, the mother eventually had no choice but to say this.

    “…Seongjin-ah. Friendship with your friends cannot be compared to the price of crayons. From now on, if a friend apologizes, accept it for now, and if you still feel wronged, let’s discuss with Mom what to do first. Okay?”

    The child had a dissatisfied expression but reluctantly nodded.

    “But the broken crayons were a 24-color set, so why did you snatch Hyung-Chul’s 56-color crayons?”

    “That’s compensation for my emotional damage. Of course I should receive something better, right?”

    It was hard to tell if the son was vicious or smart.

    Seongjin, who spent such an extraordinary childhood and youth, became a quiet child as if by magic when he became a middle school student.

    His parents cautiously watched their son’s mood, wondering if their somewhat different son was adapting well to school life.

    However, his school uniform and textbooks were always neat, and there was no evidence of possible bullying.

    He had finally matured.

    Seongjin’s parents were overjoyed.

    In fact, although he appeared calm on the surface, Seongjin’s school life was actually busy both in public and private, but his parents had no idea.

    The son had failed to acquire the ordinary sociability that his parents wanted, but at least he was able to gain the skill to conceal incidents and accidents from his homeroom teacher and parents.

    For example, after unfortunately being targeted by delinquents, he fought relentlessly against one guy for three months until the group of delinquents finally declared a truce, trembling with fear.

    Or he stalked a disciplinary committee member who was picking fights for no reason for a week, causing him to develop anthropophobia and paranoia, making him take a long-term absence from school.

    It was an eventful school life that traversed somewhere between the realization of justice and crime.

    Although he was not an outstanding student, after a relatively diligent school life, Seongjin was admitted to a decent four-year university in Seoul.

    He had an ordinary romantic relationship, went to the military in his second year, and after graduation, he got a job at a suitable small or medium-sized company.

    -Assistant Manager Lee, there’s something fishy about him.

    -Really? Isn’t he diligent and good at his job?

    Although he occasionally received suspicious looks from stubborn superiors, Seongjin outwardly performed the role of a diligent office worker without any problems.

    He started receiving arranged dates, and he was in a sort of relationship with a female co-worker at the same company.

    If nothing unusual had happened, he probably would have gotten married and lived an ordinary life.

    August 2035.

    The Gehenna Gate Incident.

    Star gates connected to the demon realm of Gehenna appeared simultaneously around the world without warning, and armies of thousands and tens of thousands of demons began to pour out from them.

    In an instant, intact cities and infrastructure were shattered, and the world fell into a temporary state of anarchy for several days.

    After establishing a defensive line and reorganizing the system centered around some of the military that had managed to do so in the midst of the chaos, humanity launched a counterattack, but the scale of human casualties that occurred in just a few days reached an astronomical number.

    Human civilization, which had most of its major cities destroyed, also greatly regressed.

    Seongjin, who was on a business trip to the provinces at the time and was able to take refuge in an air-raid shelter within the defensive line by chance, survived fortunately. However, he suddenly lost everything that had been the foundation of his life, including his family.

    In the face of this immense human tragedy, Lee Seongjin did not cry. He simply looked at the demons endlessly pouring down from the gates and calmly retraced in his mind who he should collect this debt from this time.

    Demons were endless no matter how many were killed, but this tenacious man never gave up on something once he targeted it.

    Lee Seongjin became a hunter. He became a professional demon hunter.

    When a person touched a demon’s corpse right after killing it, a strange energy seemed to be absorbed into the body, which hunters called the demon’s essence.

    Those who absorbed this soon became able to exercise abilities beyond human limits. As if absorbing part of the demon’s power.

    That ability was sometimes simply physical strength, sometimes a reinforcement type that created a hard outer shell, or sometimes manifested as a psychic power like psychokinesis.

    The more demon essence hunters absorbed, the stronger they became, and before long, superhumans who could single-handedly kill thousands of demons began to emerge.

    Humanity, which had been pushed to the brink, slowly began to push back the front lines, and a grueling war of attrition continued for decades.

    The demon realm, which had ambitiously invaded Earth, ironically ended up facing extinction along with Earth decades later.

    As hunters grew stronger, demons that killed humans also became stronger. The front lines, which maintained a constant balance of power, made both sides consume an unimaginable amount of life force until it reached the point of no return.

    When humanity’s last superhuman unit finally reached the Demon King, who was deeply hidden in the center of the demon realm, the Demon King, who greeted them with a sullen expression, sighed.

    “So this is how it ends. What have we been doing for the past few decades? I feel a sense of self-loathing.”

    Of course, the Demon King’s dejection was none of their concern. It was too late to stop the war of attrition and catch their breath now, as both sides had almost nothing left.

    The complete annihilation of one side.

    That was all that remained between the demon realm and humanity.

    Regardless of his somewhat self-abandoning attitude, the Demon King’s resistance was tenacious until the end.

    The superhuman unit and the Demon King fought tirelessly for three days and nights, and by the time the night of the third day arrived, the Demon King barely maintained his form above the neck, and only one human from the superhuman unit was still alive.

    It was none other than Lee Seongjin, the man who never gave up until the end.

    He forcibly raised his fist, which no longer moved well, and aimed it at the Demon King’s head. The Demon King, with only his head remaining, spoke with a disgusted expression.

    “You persistent bastard. I thought you were the most useless one, but to think I would die at your hands…”

    So what are you going to do about it?

    Seongjin snorted and brought his fist down.


    With a cracking sound, the Demon King’s only remaining dark red horn cracked.



    The next blow caused the Demon King’s nose bridge to collapse, but even then, it lacked the strength to crush his head in a single strike.

    Seongjin clenched his trembling fist again, gasping for breath.

    “Hey! Wait! Wait a minute!”

    The Demon King, bleeding from both nostrils, panicked, but he just closed his mouth tightly and swung his fist again.


    “Kek! Hey, this is a bit…”


    “…Wait a moment, you bastard!”

    The fist no longer flew.

    Of course, it was not that he listened to the Demon King’s words, but he was just taking a breather for a moment to gather his strength in his fist that no longer had any power.

    Surprisingly, during that time, the Demon King’s flattened nose bridge slowly began to rise again. Although the speed was significantly slower than before, a Demon King from another world would naturally have the ability to regenerate his body even with only his neck remaining.

    An ominous feeling that the final blow would take longer than expected passed through both the Demon King and Lee Seongjin.

    “Stop that useless punching. It has no strength at all! Hey, human. You won’t be able to kill me like this anyway. Why don’t we call a temporary truce, gather ourselves, and then fight again?”

    It was nonsense.

    It was obvious who would be at a disadvantage if the two fought at full strength.

    As Seongjin trembled and raised his arm again, the Demon King spoke urgently.

    “No, let’s not fight anymore at all! I will leave Earth and Gehenna forever. I won’t appear again, so how about it?”


    “I get to save my life, and you get to have both Earth and the demon realm. Think about the potential of the two merged worlds! You could gain power rivaling the Demon King!”


    “If you kill me like this, Gehenna without a master will disappear, and Earth, losing its supporting axis, will also slowly be sucked into the gate. Both worlds will end! What meaning does that have for you?”

    Seongjin finally replied to the Demon King.

    “What’s important to me is not this world. It’s only whether you’re finished or not.”

    The result won’t change anyway, so he declined the half-baked persuasion.

    The Demon King watched with a pale face as he slowly clenched his fist.

    How many more punches would it take to be finished?

    “Hey, hey! Then at least let me die on my own? I keep losing strength from automatically regenerating. If you give me a little time, I can burn my soul with Gehenna’s flames. I’ll disappear on my own without you having to make an effort!”


    “I’ll… also close the gate. Even if the demon realm disappears, Earth won’t be dragged in!”

    That proposal was quite tempting. Seongjin nodded.

    “Okay. I’ll think about it after I beat you to death first.”

    “How can we talk if I’m dead… More importantly, I’m telling you that you can’t kill me like that! No, what kind of guy doesn’t listen to reason!”

    The Demon King screamed.

    After who knows how long the grueling zero-sum punching continued, Seongjin was taking a breather when a sobbing sound began.

    “Th- this damn bastard…. I really didn’t want to do this….”


    Suddenly, it seemed like crimson flames were rising in the air, and the Demon King’s head was engulfed in flames.

    Even during that time, the Demon King’s skin, which had been stubbornly regenerating, began to distort in the dark red flames.

    “This is….”

    Gehenna’s Flames.

    The deep burning of the demon realm that was said to burn and erase the very existence of things.

    It seemed that the story that it could destroy not only the Demon King’s endlessly regenerating body but also his soul was true.

    And that meant.

    “So all that about not having enough strength to commit suicide and whatnot was all your bullshit.”

    As Seongjin grinned and raised his fist again, the Demon King flinched and instead shouted.

    “…What! Why! What! What’s the difference! I was still going to disappear nicely into another dimension as if I were dead!”

    Despite the strangely confident attitude despite having been crying a moment ago, even the great Lee Seongjin was momentarily at a loss for words.

    “But now it’s all ruined. Sob! Fine. I’ll die as you wish. But I won’t go alone.”

    The flames burning the Demon King slowly grew and transferred to Seongjin’s body.

    Along with the searing heat, his body was also instantly swallowed by the dark red flames.

    “It’s infernal fire fueled by the soul of this noble Demon King! I will certainly destroy you, you bastard! I’ll burn your soul to ashes!”

    Despite his flesh distorting and bones being exposed in the flames, the Demon King was smiling for some reason, as if he was happy about something. He must have been very resentful about being beaten for so long.

    “What the….”

    “Hahahahaha! How does it feel! The pain of your soul burning too! Hahahahahaha sob!”

    Even though his own soul was also burning.

    Listening to the Demon King’s laughter that sounded almost like crying, as if he had gone mad, Seongjin looked at his own burning body.

    Indeed, his body, which had become so sturdy that it did not suffer a single injury from any decent physical force after absorbing the essence of demons for decades, was melting away in vain.

    The process of the dermis burning and muscle fibers being exposed was extremely painful even to his body that had become dull to pain after countless reinforcements.

    Although he had crossed the line between life and death countless times while fighting until now, Seongjin could feel that he was definitely dying this time.

    But either way.

    Finally, the root of the demon realm’s invasion, which Seongjin had targeted as his life’s goal, was finished.

    “Hahahaha! Hahahaha….”

    The Demon King, who had been laughing like a madman, suddenly flinched and closed his mouth. Because he involuntarily got goosebumps at the sight of Seongjin’s lips curling up while engulfed in flames.

    “Yeah, well. I’m finished too in the end.”

    Now, a fist engulfed in flames, with muscles barely remaining on the skeleton, slowly rises.

    “So let’s get punched one last time.”

    “What!? You bastard! In this state….”

    “Think of it as compensation for emotional damage.”



    The piercing scream soon died down.

    After confirming that the Demon King’s face had completely crumbled into ashes, Seongjin closed his eyes. As his consciousness faded to black, he thought he heard something shatter with a clang inside his head.

    That was the last memory of the hunter Lee Seongjin.

    1. This idiom is used to describe someone who appears powerful or impressive on the outside but is actually weak, incompetent, or cowardly on the inside.[]

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