The Beginning After The End | Chapter 265

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Beginning After The End Manhwa Novel

Chapter 265



 Chapter 265


Chapter 265: First Ascent

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There were so many thoughts racing through my mind. So many questions I wanted to ask as my eyes took in the sight.


What was going on? Am I still in the dungeon? If so, why were there so many mages gathered here?


My eyes were drawn to what I first thought was a red sun. Looking carefully though, the ‘sun’ seemed to be sitting on top of a towering column quite a distance away.


A monstrous screech pulled my gaze back to the scene just ahead.


With the vast field of uneven dirt being trampled by hundreds of monsters and the blood-red sky matching the pools of blood and fire strewn across the battlefield, I couldn’t help but wonder if this was what hell would be like.


During my journey through this dungeon, I had faced skeletal chimeras, giant aetheric millipedes, deadly shrews and shadowy beasts of all shapes and sizes. However, none of them could quite compare to the sheer grotesqueness that were these monsters.


Each one of these bipedal creatures had sickly white skin and an oversized head resting between narrow shoulders that could only be described as a ghoulish infant. Their clawed hands and large mouths were dyed in red and sharp fang-like spikes protruded out of their gangly bodies.


From the hundreds of monster corpses littering the field and the Alacryans coated in a layer of sweat, grime and blood, it was easy to infer that they had been in battle for quite a while.


‘Why can’t we ever be fighting against a half-naked succubus or a seductive demoness of some kind? Why are they always so damned gross?’ Regis lamented.


“Hey! Are you waiting for our permission or something? Help us out!” a large female warrior clad in plated armor a few yards ahead barked, unleashing a surge of blue fire from her golden halberd straight at a group of demonic babies.


Chittering screams resounded from the monsters as the fire washed over them, but they were immediately replaced by another wave.


‘What do we do?’ Regis asked.


Stay hidden inside me for now, I replied. It seemed like the Alacryans and I had a common enemy for now, but revealing anything more than I had to would be foolish at this point.


Careful to keep the aether flowing within my body, I unsheathed my white dagger and dashed forward.


The baby-headed demons were fast, relentless, and their skin was tough, but with aether pumping through my limbs in powerful bursts, I tore through them, wave after wave.


Despite the remaining thirteen of us fighting a common enemy, it was obvious that teamwork only existed within isolated groups of preexisting teammates. Save for the trio that I had met before, there was one other trio while the rest fought in pairs, trying to stay alive rather than trying to help out the rest.


Streams of blue fire lit the red sky from the same warrior that had shouted at me, but that wasn’t the only magic that filled the battlefield. I could see giant earthen spikes erupt from the ground, bullets of water shimmering as they pierced through the monsters, and crescents of wind that bisected everything in its path.


They were spells I was all too familiar with, but each one was at a level that could rival a veteran silver-core mage at the least. But even with all of these powerful mages mowing down the demonic infants, their numbers only seemed to increase.


‘Where are they all coming from?’ Regis wondered.

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I wish I knew, I sent back as I pried my dagger out of the bulging black eye of a demonic infant.


“H-Help!” a pained cry rang from a few yards away. I turned to see five monsters pouncing on a warrior. He desperately scrambled on his back, using his shield to keep the monsters at bay.


His left leg was broken and the monsters seemed to know that, more and more of them gathering to finish off their prey.


My eyes locked with the warrior’s.


“You! S-Save me—please!” he shouted, panicking.


I instinctively stepped forward to help the struggling mage as he frantically lobbed a blast of fire that only helped in attracting more monsters.


But then, as the warrior was flipped by a pair of monsters, I saw the black runes between the mesh gap of his armor.


Anger flared within me as memories of the war came back; If it wasn’t for these Alacryans, my father, Adam, and so many others wouldn’t have died.


My eyes narrowed as any remaining shred of mercy I had dissipated. I turned away, ignoring his screams of pain and anger before he succumbed to his bloody end.


I continued my rampage unabated, like a deadly storm leaving behind only corpses. The aether within each monster was scarce, but enough for me to discreetly absorb and sustain myself. Despite the situation I was in, surrounded by both monsters and Alacryans, I blurred everything except for the enemies within my range.


It was as if I was fighting alone against the army of beasts approaching the Wall all over again. Except, this time, I didn’t have elemental magic to help me.


It didn’t matter though. At this point, my physical prowess had long since exceeded my previous state, despite my abated speed. The few injuries I did receive regenerated long before I even had a chance to worry about them.


The monsters must’ve finally realized that the newcomer wasn’t the weakest because they began slowly avoiding me. The thought of running away crossed my mind. I had no allies here—only the Alacryans that I had been fighting against for so long. Who knew what these people would try to do once given the chance.


However, out of the corner of my eye, I spotted the three Alacryans I had run into when I first woke up in this dungeon. The three had gotten separated far from the rest of the Alacryans and were surrounded by over a hundred monsters.


Drawn to them, I continued to study the trio as I chased down stray demons.


Taegen, the crimson-haired mace wielder, fought more like a beast than a warrior—smashing, punching, kicking and throwing the beasts despite the injuries he had sustained from the extended battle. The short brown-haired swordsman was more dignified, handling his mana-clad longsword with deft slices and stabs while a layer of sweat coated his face and neck.


The woman that Taegen had referred to as Lady Caera was positioned in between the two warriors who were obviously protecting her. She wielded a thin curved sword that was longer than she was tall with a blade the same color as her ruby eyes. As she sliced through monster after monster, I realized that her movements reminded me of…me. They were sharp, efficient, and deadly without losing an inch of grace.


Even without her two protectors, she was able to hold her own against the waves of beasts that continued to assault them. A shimmering white aura surrounded her entire body as her movements blurred, drawing arcs with the blood of her enemies.


However, it wasn’t hard to see that they were barely holding on. They were clearly running out of mana, their bodies fatigued and injured.


‘Despite the sight for sore eyes that is my fairlady Caera, I think it’d be a good idea to leave right about now,’ Regis commented.


Yeah, I agreed, my eyes still glued to the three of them.


As I was about to turn away, however, I caught a glimpse of Caera just as she made a fatal mistake. She misstepped, tripping over a corpse, giving the wave of monsters a chance to pile on top of her like starving animals.


“No!” Taegen roared as he tried to make his way towards the girl, pushing and throwing aside the horde of monsters practically climbing on top of him.


The other guy was in no better shape, doing his best to keep the monsters on his side from joining the ones trying to devour the girl.


‘Uh, Arthur? What the hell are you doing?’


I ignored my companion, willing aether through my legs and dashing as fast as my body would let me. My dagger blurred around me, cutting down all the monsters that stood in my way until I finally drew close to Caera.


Her words as I played dead in the Sanctuary echoed in my head.


‘Have some pity on her, Taegen.’


She had said that to me at my weakest point. If she hadn’t—if she had heeded Taegen’s prudent warning—I wouldn’t be here now.


Afraid that I’d be too late, I took a risk that I normally wouldn’t. Siphoning aether throughout my body, I released my aetheric intent.


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As the translucent aura surged around me, making the very air grow heavy, the demonic monsters reacted. Their pale spiney bodies stiffened from the sudden pressure while some of the weaker ones even fell unconscious.


Clearing off the monsters that had piled on top of Caera, I found her lying on the ground, bleeding and unconscious.


Without thinking, I bent down, leaning my ear over her face to try and hear her breathing.


‘Wow. She’s even prettier up close,’ Regis said with a whistle.


Regis’ voice brought me back to reality and I jerked away.


They were my enemies. They were the ones responsible for killing so many of my people. So why was I helping them?


Why was I relieved that this girl was still alive?


“Step away from her,” said a growling voice from behind.


I stood up calmly, dusting off my pants. “Tell her when she wakes up that we’re even now.”


“Even? Who do you think—”


I turned around to face the girl’s two protectors, looking at each of them with a cold gaze.


“You’re the girl that we saw half-dead in one of the Sanctuaries,” the brown-haired swordsman said with mild surprise.


The mace-wielder beside him, however, didn’t act nearly as calmly as his companion. He rushed forward with explosive speed and his lightning-clad mace blurred straight at my face.


Stepping forward, I dipped just below the path of his weapon, and struck below his ribs, right at his liver with all of my aether concentrated on my fist.


My counterattack didn’t connect, though. In that split second, he had managed to bring his other hand up to block my strike.


Still, the force of my attack sent the crimson-haired warrior skidding back. His expression turned to that of surprise as he looked down at the hand that had become a bloody mess from blocking my attack.


“I’m a guy,” I corrected, shaking my throbbing hand. Even with all of my aether strengthening and protecting my hand, it felt like I had punched a wall of diamond.


The guy lifted his mace once more, rage building on his face, but his sword-wielding companion held up an arm.


“My apologies for his crude behavior…and thank you for saving her,” the swordsman said. As he lowered his head, I noticed his eyes linger over the teal cloak draped over my shoulders as if he was familiar with its owner.


Thankfully, at that moment, the sky suddenly changed. The once blood-stained sky cleared to show a beautiful expanse of blue, but something was missing.


It was the giant red orb that I had mistaken for a sun. It was gone, and so was the pillar holding it up.


“Finally!” a voice whooped from afar.


I couldn’t quite grasp what was going on, but the hundreds of corpses that had littered the desolate ground were gone along with the red sky.


The swordsman let out a sigh as he sheathed his longsword. “It looks like this wave has finally come to an end.”


“This wave?” I asked. “Does that mean there’s more?”


Going down on one knee, he handed the girl’s sword to the mace wielder before gently picking her up. “Until we can get close enough to destroy the power source, these waves will continue.”


“Power source?”


“That giant red moon that you saw in the sky,” he explained.


“Apologies for the questions, but this is the last one,” I said, surveying the mages setting up camp. “Why are there so many Ala—people here?”


This time, the swordsman looked at me with a curious expression. “Why? Have you never come across a convergence zone on any of your ascents?”


My mind spun as I tried to make heads or tails out of his question before answering vaguely. “This is my first ascent.”


The swordsman’s eyes narrowed as he studied me. “Even if it is your first, thorough research is always done unless you’re seeking death. And with your strength, it seems more plausible that you’ve had formal schooling. Where are you from?”


‘Say you’re from the outskirts of Vechor!’ Regis sent.


“I’m from the outskirts of Vechor,” I said quickly.


“Then a talent such as yourself would’ve been reported to the capital. Unless coming back alive from your first ascent is your rite of passage,” he said as if thinking aloud rather than directly talking to me. “Regardless. I must tend to Lady Caera before the next wave begins. I will relay your message to her.”


The swordsman walked away with the crimson-haired warrior following close behind. A soft white aura enveloped his hand, stopping the bleeding.


After a few steps, I watched the brown-haired warrior holding the girl stop before looking back over his shoulder. “It’ll be about twelve hours before the next wave comes. It’d be best for you to rest a bit before moving forward with the rest of us.”


I frowned. “Together?”


“You can go off on your own to see if you fair better, but the fact that the red moon still comes up means that the ones that have tried up until now have died, since destroying that is the only way out.”


I blankly watched as the swordsman walked off before focusing on what to do next.


Hey. How did you know the name of a city in Alacrya? I asked Regis as I studied the other Alacryans.


‘Not a city, but a dominion, which is another word for kingdom. And it’s because of Uto’s will. I don’t know everything he did, but I do know some basic knowledge.’


And you never thought to tell me this?


‘The knowledge I have hasn’t been very applicable while fighting beasts,’ Regis quipped.


Despite the flaring annoyance at my companion, I let it go. If it wasn’t for him, the swordsman would’ve been a lot more suspicious than he already had been.


I had managed to catch the mace-wielder by surprise, but I had a feeling that the next time, it’d be a lot harder for me.


I let out a sigh, rubbing my temples. Now wasn’t the time to care about that. There was something even more important I had learned.


Through the short and rather tense conversation I had with the swordsman, it seemed that our suspicions were correct.


I was no longer anywhere near Dicathen.


The dungeon I had wound up in happened to be somewhere in the very continent I had been at war with.


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