I'm Not a Regressor

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I’m Not a Regressor

 

Chapter 220: Intermission - Reunion (2)

 

"What on earth were you doing to end up in the Demon Realm? And you fell into the very gate Vega claimed was safe..."

Deneb's voice was a relentless barrage of words.

With a chuckle, Deneb circled to Vega.

"As a Celestial, you should be protecting children, yet you've put your own child in danger... How could you do such a thing? Huh? Huh? Huh?"

[…….]

Vega closed her eyes slightly, letting Deneb's words pass through one ear and out the other.

Or rather.

She pretended to be indifferent.

[…I must endure. I must endure.]

Vega, her beautiful forehead creased with tension, clenched her fist and muttered under her breath.

"Hehehe! Ah~ I feel so refreshed!"

Deneb stretched out his arms and yawned.

Just as Vega was glaring at Deneb, trying to suppress her anger, the doors of the lavishly decorated temple opened. A young man and two women entered.

"Are you here?"

Deneb turned to look at Allen Oscal and the sisters Shaolin and Shaolan.

Allen, who was leading the group, gave a small nod.

He glanced coldly at Vega, Ha-eun, and Isabella, then turned his head toward Deneb.

"What's the matter all of a sudden?"

"I have a favor to ask, Allen."

"A favor?"

"Go to the Demon Realm."

"...The Demon Realm?"

Allen's eyebrows furrowed slightly.

"Do you want me to meet the elder Megrez?"

"No. I want you to retrieve the Lightning Wolf."

"Lightning Wolf?"

"Lightning Wolf?"

At the mention of the Lightning Wolf, Shaolin and Shaolan's eyes flashed fiercely.

Deneb subtly gestured with his yes, and Vega stepped forward.

[Pleased to meet you.]

"I greet the Star of the Weaver Girl."

Allen bowed respectfully.

[Due to my negligence, my child has been trapped in the Demon Realm.]

"Trapped in the Demon Realm...?"

Vega slowly explained what had happened in the Demon Realm.

As the explanation continued, the expressions of Allen, Shaolin, and Shaolan hardened.

"If he couldn't get out of there, he must have already died…"

"Sister, be quiet."

Shaolin quickly covered Shaolan's mouth.

"I see. I understand the situation."

Allen sighed deeply and turned to Deneb.

His eyes were filled with reproach as if to say, 'Are you going to grant that favor?'.

Deneb flinched and soon nodded.

"…Ha."

Allen heaved a deep sigh, turning towards Vega. 

"I understand. I'll help rescue the Lightning Wolf."

His relationship with Ohjin wasn't one of deep friendship or loyalty, the kind that would compel him to risk his life by venturing into the Demon Realm for a rescue mission.

[Thank you.]

"But it's because it's Deneb's request."

It was a request from Deneb, who was like a parent to him. There was no reason to refuse.

"That's our Allen! I knew I could count on you!"

Deneb's eyes sparkled as he grabbed Allen's arm.

"Ah, not that it's a condition or anything... but there is one thing I would like to ask of you in return."

[Hmm. Go on.]

Allen looked down at Deneb, who was dangling like a cicada, with a faint smile.

“If Deneb were to find himself in a troublesome situation like Lady Vega now, I hope you'll help him out then, just once.”

“Ah! Why are you suddenly saying that?! There's no way I'd get into such a dangerous situation!”

Deneb's shout echoed as Allen gently patted his head. Vega watched the two, a smile slowly spreading across her lips. 

[Of course.]

"Then, we'll be on our way."

As Allen was about to turn around, his hand resting on the sword at his waist, Deneb interrupted.

“Oh, wait a moment.”

Deneb, who had been shouting noisily while pulling on Allen's arm, suddenly hardened his expression.

As if he hadn't been frivolous a minute before, the carefree atmosphere disappeared in an instant, replaced by a sharp glint.

“Tch.”

That glint was directed at Isabella, who had quietly withdrawn behind Vega. Deneb glared at Isabella with narrowed eyes.

“You, what are you?”

Shhk shhk shhk!

With a simple gesture, ice pillars burst out of the temple floor, forming a dense prison around Isabella.

"...."

Isabella looked at the frozen pillars locking her in place with an expression hardened like stone.

* * *

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[Stop.]

As Deneb tried to approach Isabella, Vega blocked his way.

[I shall vouch for this child's identity.]

“...Are you in your right mind, Vega? She's an apostle of the Black Star!”

[I am aware.]

“Hmm.”

Deneb nodded lightly, then snapped his fingers. The ice pillars surrounding Isabella collapsed with a crash.

“Well, if you're personally guaranteeing it, Vega, I'll trust you.”

Since the Star of the Weaver Girl herself had stepped in to confirm her identity, there was no need to nitpick.

[Thank you.]

“Hey! I told you not to treat me like a kid?!”

When Vega tried to pat his head, Deneb jerked away, as if avoiding an attack.

Ha-eun chuckled, gripping her forehead.

“I feel like the image I had of the Celestials is shattered.”

“We don't have time for this. We have to hurry, or else...”

Isabella chewed on her nails anxiously, her face uneasy.

“Don't worry, I told you?”

Ha-eun raised the corner of her mouth in a smirk, pulling Isabella's shoulder as she bit her nails. She continued, lightly patting the anxious girl's back.

“Ohjin-whatshisname is not the type to die so easily.”

“...I know.”

Isabella quickly collected herself, blushing as she hid her face. She could feel Ha-eun's touch trembling on her back.

“...You're scared too.”

“Huh?”

“It's nothing.”

With a brighter expression, Isabella moved away from Ha-eun.

She looked to Allen and the Shao sisters.

“Shall we leave right away?”

“Yes.”

“But how will we get to the North Pole? There aren't any sanctums nearby.”

Shaolan tilted her head questioningly.

“The Colagrande House has a private jet prepared. We just need to fly there from the London sanctum.”

“Great! Let's hurry and grab the rascal by the collar and drag him back!”

Ha-eun shouted vigorously as she turned around.

As Ha-eun was about to leave the temple, Vega approached her.

[I leave my child in your hands.]

"Ok."

Ha-eun smiled wryly at Vega.

"I'll bring him back."

* * *

The First Fissure. 

At the North Pole was a colossal 50 km wide gate directly linked to the Demon Realm.

"This is... the First Fissure."

Isabella swallowed dryly, looking at the black crevice stretching along the Arctic ice.

Despite being quite far from the gate, it was so vast that it seemed to extend endlessly everywhere you looked around.

Isabella quickened her steps anxiously.

“Wait a moment.”

Ha-eun grabbed Isabella's arm, surveying their surroundings.

High-ranking monsters not commonly found on Earth roamed around the First Fissure connected to the Demon Realm.

“...This is the place with the least monsters around?”

“Yes.”

Allen nodded.

“I've gone through this route to the Demon Realm before.”

“You've been to the Demon Realm and back?”

Ha-eun looked at Allen in surprise.

Allen silently nodded.

He slowly drew out his sword, continuing,

“The critical thing is speed. The moment we're late, the horde will come running at the commotion.”

“The horde won't follow us into the Demon Realm?”

“Yes. Once inside, we'll be safe.”

“...Like gatekeepers?” 

“You could see it that way.”

Ha-eun and Isabella's eyes lightened with relief at these words. Someone experienced in entering the Demon Realm would guide them.

"Well, if this team can't even get into the Demon Realm, we'd have a problem."

Isabella held the rank of third in the Black Star Organization as an Executor, and Allen was a member of the Seven Stars. The Shao sisters held the fourth and fifth positions among Deneb's 12 Apostles. Ha-eun was a high-ranking awakener of the Draco, comparable to the 12 Zodiacs. If this group couldn't even enter the Demon Realm, the existence of the Demon Realm itself would likely remain a mystery to the world.

"I'll take the lead."

Allen stepped forward, sword drawn, his eyes sharp as he observed the monsters loitering around the First Fissure. With a light step, his figure vanished as if dissolving into the air. Along with the lightly swung sword slash, a blanketing frost spread widely, freezing the demonic beasts solid before they could even scream.

"Whoa..."

A quiet exclamation left Ha-eun's lips.

"How about that? How about that? Isn't Allen oppa awesome?"

Shaolan ogled Allen's back as he took the lead, waving her arms excitedly. Shaolin frowned, glaring at Shaolan.

"Behave yourself, sister. There are others here."

“What’s with you today? Usually, you’d be squealing at the mere sight of Sir Allen.”

“S-Sister!”

Shaolin shouted, her face flushed red.

“Quiet.”

At Allen's softly muttered word, the two women flinched and shut their mouths firmly.

“We’ll proceed slowly.”

“Didn’t you say speed was of the essence earlier?”

“First we’ll get as close to the First Fissure as possible without being noticed, then make a run for it.”

Leaving the frozen monster statues behind, Allen headed for the First Fissure. The remaining distance to the First Fissure was approximately 10 km. Even for their superhuman bodies, it was too far to cover in one burst.

As they slowly, silently dispatched the groups of monsters on their cautious approach to the First Fissure...

“...What’s this?”

Allen, whose expressions barely changed, furrowed his brows and glanced around.

“It’s...”

Isabella, following behind, also seemed to have sensed something suspicious and pursed her plump lips.

Ha-eun looked around.

“What is it? What’s going on?”

“The demonic beasts’ movements are strange.”

Allen looked back at the groups of demonic beasts he had frozen into ice statues. He was certain he had handled them swiftly and thoroughly, stifling even their roars.

“The demonic beasts in the vicinity have started converging here.”

“What? Why all of a sudden?”

“I don't know.”

Sensing the demonic beasts encroaching from all directions, Allen tightened his grip on his sword. He didn't understand how the demonic beasts had noticed them and started swarming towards this route, but...

“We'll break through head-on!”

Since they had already been discovered, there was no other choice.

“Hup!”

Thud!

Allen charged forward with forceful stomps. Swish, swish, swish, slash! A chill far beyond the cold of the Arctic tore through the demonic beasts’ bodies as they rushed forth.

"Kiiirrrr!"

"Croo? Krrrrwaaah?"

The demonic beasts converging from all around began unleashing horrifying roars at Allen's appearance. Their eyes showed panic and shock.

‘They hadn’t noticed us?’

Allen furrowed his brows in confusion. If they hadn't been noticed, then why were the monsters suddenly gathering here?

‘There must be something else.’

Come to think of it, he vaguely remembered Megrez mentioning something when they had visited the Demon Realm. The demonic beasts guarding the perimeter of the Demon Realm were banished existences, having been unable to join the ‘Kings’’ forces. And most of the banished demonic beasts had been misled by the 'Snake,' revering her as their king.

"...Could it be."

Allen's expression hardened stiffly. The endless horde of demonic beasts converged like dark clouds from beyond the snowfield. No matter how many intruders appeared, the demonic beasts guarding the 50-km-wide Rift would never gather in one location like this. Well, there was one exception. When their master, the 'Snake,' personally marched onto Earth.

"Could the 'Snake' be... coming this way now?"

Allen stared with trembling eyes at the legions of demonic beasts filling the vast snowfield.

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