The decapitated head was falling to the ground. The body fell to the side as if it was matching the head’s speed.
The body and head both rolled on the ground.
I was certain.
However, I started to hear Chikichaka’s decapitated head start to talk again.
I didn’t know whether it was a coincidence or if the god was playing around with me, but the rolling head was facing me.
Chikichaka’s eyes were open as if he was still alive. His mouth was moving as he talked as well.
It was terrible to hear a decapitated head talk. The dead Chikichaka seemed even scarier than the alive Chikichaka.
“You won this time!”
That gave me a slight sense of relief.
However, I still could not get used to the decapitated head talking to me. I was afraid it would show up in my dreams.
“It is now time to give you a mission! You will be able to see the Gate to the Divine World if you get through the Demons’ Mine. Defeat Demon Lord Heros and open that gate.”
Demon Lord Heros.
That name finally came out! He was the final boss monster I faced in the game, Royal Roader.
“If you succeed, I will give you the thing you’ve desired so much.”
‘The thing I’ve desired so much? What is that? Does the god know something I don’t?’
There was something I thought it could be. It was something I wanted but could not get any yet.
“Are you talking about a Jewel of the Mind’s Eye?”
“Hoho, yes indeed!”
I was disappointed. Demon Lord Heros was the strongest monster in this world, but the reward was only a single jewel.
But the reward was not important. The important thing was the penalty I would receive if I failed.
“You will cease to exist if you fail. Both in Royal Roader and in your original world, the human world.”
He was not threatening me.
But it was not shocking. My life was already on the line when I fought against the god who had possessed Chikichaka. It was just like how extreme fear felt different the first time versus the second time.
Furthermore, I didn’t have a choice. There was nothing I could do. The god did not give any option for negotiation.
“I will give you 1 year’s worth of time. You will have failed if you cannot complete it by then.”
Chikichaka’s eyes and mouth closed after saying that.
I felt something in my hand at that moment.
I opened my hand to see a black jewel.
[Soul of the Dead]
This item is a key to enter Demon Lord Heros’s territory.
‘What is this?’
This item did not exist in the game.
I never used something like this when I fought against Demon Lord Heros. My allies and I charged through the numerous lines of enemies and I defeated Heros 1 on 1.
However, I’m sure that this was given to me for a reason. I’ll figure out how it is used once I meet Demon Lord Heros.
Or I can always look through the draft plan.
Anyway, the future looked bleak.
‘Damn it! 1 year is too short!’
And it was 1 year in Royal Roader time. He did mention my time restriction would be lifted, so I should be entering Royal Roader every time I fall asleep.
That meant that I had less than two months in human world time.
I didn’t even have the time to grumble. I needed to find a way to succeed since I had no way of rejecting it.
‘What can I do?’
There were no issues getting to the Demons’ Mine. There was already a teleportation portal there. There was one from the Ares Temple to the temple closest to the Demons’ Mine.
There were two problems though.
First was gathering people. I needed to get through the formations of the Demons to get to Demon Lord Heros, but that would be impossible with regular people.
I would need the Batoru Kingdom’s troops, the Dwarves, Shapir, fairies, basically, I would need to use every connection that I have.
Then I should be able to get through the defensive lines even easier than during the game.
Second was that I had the ability to defeat Demon Lord Heros.
But I was better off now than I was during the game. My level is similar, but I have many abilities that I did not have in the game.
Most importantly, I had much better weapon and armor than within the game and they were fortified eight times.
And my final hidden card…
‘I knew it would be like this and thus researched Demon Lord Heros in advance.’
Thankfully, the draft plan had information on Demon Lord Heros.
It was obvious that that would be the case. He was the strongest final boss monster in the Royal Roader game.
It had Demon Lord Heros’s strengths as well as his few weaknesses.
I should be able to defeat him easier than in the game if I dig into those aspects.
The only thing that concerned me was that there was this unexpected variable of the Soul of the Dead.
No matter what, it required thorough planning.
‘I don’t have time. I need to quickly prepare!’
* * *
‘Ah, I have a headache.’
No matter how many times I thought about it, I couldn’t come up with a reliable plan.
Demon Lord Heros was that strong of an opponent. I only happened to defeat Demon Lord Heros in the game pretty much thanks to luck rather than skill.
Victory and defeat would have been different if Heros’s attack had hit me before my attack hit him. It was only about 0.1 seconds worth of difference.
The conditions were better now than in the game, but it was still not 100%. It was probably only slightly over 50%. Magic did not work against Demon Lord Heros.
Even my Stealthy Approach in my armor and the ability in my ring wouldn’t work. Fire, thunder, and even Dark Force would not work.
Putting it that way, I couldn’t even say I was much better off than during the game.
I couldn’t help but worry about it.
I’ve been focusing on this battle against Demon Lord Heros and putting everything aside for almost two months. I even turned my phone off when I was focusing.
But I still had not come up with a response.
I did not have enough information on Demon Lord Heros. The draft plan had some basic information, but they were, as the name indicates, basic. I probably knew less than 10% about Demon Lord Heros.
I managed to get in touch with my developers who were involved with Royal Roader, but there was nothing I could gain.
The more frustrating thing was that the time restriction was removed during this time.
I wanted to spend more time to think about it, but that became impossible. I went into Royal Roader every time I fell asleep now.
I couldn’t help but sigh.
“Huuuuuu, so frustrating.”
It felt as if my head had turned into a rock.
I stopped working and turned on my phone to take a break.
I received tens of missed call notifications. It was surprising since I only turned my phone off for about two hours.
But there were none that seemed important or urgent. The people making those calls sent texts or katalk messages as well.
I still calmly looked through the missed call log.
I then noticed one specific call.
[China Li Xiang Nan]
This was a call I should have picked up. Li Xiang Nan was still working as an important guānxì (middleman) for me in China.
I quickly called Li Xiang Nan.
“Qīnmì de jiejie.” (TL: Best translation would be dearest sister)
– Didi. I guess you were busy?
It truly was best to know many languages. In some aspects, the only reason I was able to get this close to Li Xiang Nan was because I spoke Chinese like a native.
Wang Kun and the other high ranking officials of the Community party quickly trusted me because of that too.
“I had my phone off because I had something to think about. Is there anything urgent?”
– They finally decided on the sale for ‘Orange.’ They’re planning on giving shares to a lot of people and you can’t miss out.
Honestly speaking, I wasn’t interested in business right now. I guess I had no energy for it at the moment?
It was because of the Royal Roader issue. What was the point when failing this quest meant my death? I already had a lot of money.
That was why I should only focus on saving my life.
But my eyes could not help but sparkle after hearing, ‘Orange.’ That was the internet portal service company that was fervently growing in China.
For some reason though, they got on the wrong side of the Chinese Communist Party.
That was why I had actually been looking forward to it. I thought a chance like this might come to me.
I had nonchalantly shared my interest with Li Xiang Nan as well. I phrased it to ask her to at least let me know if something like that came up.
But for that chance to come already…
This was not something I even needed to think about. ‘Orange’ was a company with significant potential for growth. It might even grow past China and become the world’s greatest internet portal service company.
“How much shares do you think I can get?”
– Probably 5% max?
“I would like to get some more if possible, Li jie, can you help me out? I’ll treat you to a feast next time.”
– Hoho. Of course, I will help my didi out. But I still think it will be hard to get anything more than 5%. They might think we are getting special treatment.
“I understand. I’ll go to China soon.”
We ended the call after that. I just needed to grab the big picture and my staff would take care of the small details.
I looked through the missed calls log again.
‘Huh? Mom called too.’
It was Lunar New Year in about half a month. She said she wanted to see the sun rising over the eastern coast this new year.
We tried to do it on January first, but the weather wasn’t good so we couldn’t see it properly.
For some reason, she keeps talking about seeing the sunrise.
It was not like it was hard.
I already reserved a boat. We will depart from Sokcho Port the day before.
But will I be able to see the sunrise with my mother?
There were less than three months left until I needed to defeat Demon Lord Heros. Even if I slept as few times as possible, it is highly likely that it will end before New Year’s Day.
In that case, I might as well go through the first battle and watch the sunrise with a relaxed heart. It’ll take at least half a month of battling to fight against Demon Lord Heros.
I also had a movie to film right after the new year. It’ll get even more chaotic at that point.
This was the right time for everything.
I had thought about it enough. The results won’t change no matter how much I thought about it.
I can only use my abilities properly if I work with plenty of time rather than working while being pushed for time.
‘Let’s get started today!’
* * *