In order to provide fans with a sense of closure and to detail events that transpire after the manhwa, we'll be updating this novel summary thread on a semi-regular basis. That's the plan anyway. There are 15 books in all (not counting the second series, which consists of six volumes, and the third series, which is currently ongoing, and so far consists of five). The sixth volume of the manhwa, incidentally, covers events roughly up to the second book in the series. How far will we get? Well, that's entirely dependent on popular interest (yours) and time and motivation (ours).
So for now, please enjoy the continuation of Damon's misadventures in written form, courtesy of Xephia. And, since it's been two years since we started this project, we begin with a recap:
Translated by Xephia
Table of Contents
2. The Continuing Ordeal
On the eve of his fateful battle against an ogre, Damon thinks back on the years of warring in the Middle Kingdom and his loyal Demon King Guards. Dokgo Seong was a complete novice to martial arts when he first arrived at the Zoroastrian headquarters after escaping from the Shaolin temple, but after just ten years he became a supreme master who could annihilate expert martial artists of the Righteous Factions with ease. It was thanks to his mastery of the Divine Blood Demon Technique, but attaining that level wouldn’t have been possible without his extraordinary intellect and innate talent. Every day for a thousand days he drank fresh blood—taken from what he believed were lamb—and went through a bone-breaking training regimen that differed completely from orthodox martial arts training methods. But he endured the suffering, clinging tightly to his desire to exact vengeance from everyone who had ever scorned him and those who had murdered the great Shaolin monk. So great was his determination to acquire power that he literally pushed himself to the limit, often to the brink of death. In the end, not only was he able to learn the Divine Blood Demon Technique, but he was able to reach the highest level of mastery—a feat that wasn't thought humanly possible previously.
When Dokgo Seong emerged from his training room after mastering the technique, Sa Jun-hwan gave him command of 500 Demon King Guards. The Demon King Guards were a special force of elite troops raised by Sa Jun-hwan himself, who had gathered more than 1,500 children from across the land and had subjected them to harsh training for twenty years. Only five hundred of the children survived, but they became masters who were practically without peer in the whole of murim. Sa Jun-hwan requested that Dogko Seong lead them on a raid of vital strategic locations of the righteous factions. Dokgo Seong accepted readily, as he was caught up in a demonic fervor from mastering the Divine Blood Demon Technique and was thirsting for blood. What followed were ten years of continuous fighting and bloody battles during which he perfected his martial arts through actual combat. Not only that, he was able to forge a deep bond with the Demon King Guards, most of whom owed him their lives. And in the end, they gave up their lives for Dokgo Seong, despite the riches and honors that were promised to them.
Waking up from his reverie, Damon reminds himself once again of the vengeance he owes to his faithful Demon King Guards. He assesses the hopelessness of his situation: he’s in a distant, alien world, and even if he returned to the Middle Kingdom somehow, with his Divine Blood Demon Technique broken, he wouldn’t even be able to handle a novice martial artist. On top of that, he could never hope to accumulate inner ki again since his ki center was destroyed. The only things left to him were his vast experience from countless battles and his keen battle sense. He then remembers what Schrechimer told him about magic—something he might be able to learn that would help him become powerful again even without a ki center. But knowing he must survive this last trial before he can do anything else, he puts the thought aside and begins to steel himself for the battle against the ogre—a creature he had never seen before.
Damon is back in the dungeon and is about to face the ogre, armed with just a pair of long, single-spiked gauntlets. Despite the urgings of the soldiers who had brought arms and armor, he refuses to wear any armor or a shield. He knows instinctively that heavy armor, which would have been useless against the troll, would be even more so against an ogre—reputed to be an even more powerful adversary. So he resolves to dodge the ogre’s attacks rather than face them head on, relying on his reflexes and quick movements.
But despite all his preparations, the first sight of the ogre astonishes Damon greatly. Over 4.5 m tall with two heads, its bloodshot eyes roaming ravenously for prey, the monster made a terrifying spectacle. The ogre swings its huge club at Damon the moment it spots him. He manages to dodge, but he’s shocked to discover that the ogre can move even faster than him. A counterattack is unthinkable as its all he can do to keep running and evading the flurry of attacks that would pulverize him if they landed.
Watching Damon’s desperate struggle from a gallery atop the dungeon are Sergey and Benitez. Sergey admires Damon’s speed and the movements that allowed him to evade the ogre’s grasp, but both he and Benitez agree that it won’t be long before Damon gets devoured by the beast.
Eventually, Damon is driven into a corner and becomes completely exhausted. Out of sheer desperation, he runs straight into the wall, with the ogre hot on his heels. Just when Benitez thinks it’s all over and Sergey has even gotten up to leave, Damon jumps on to the wall and somersaults high in the air. The ogre crashes into the wall at full speed. Damon leaps on the fallen ogre and runs the spike straight through the ogre’s eye. But just as he thinks he’s slain the ogre, and the tension begins to ease from his muscles, he is struck by the ogre's flailing arm; the monster didn’t die even with its brain run through because it had two heads. All seems lost as the ogre grows wary and begins guarding its remaining head, but before it can fully stand, Damon jumps on its back and drives the spike through the point where the shoulder blade joints meet—the location of a vital pressure point on a human body. He learns, to his relief, that ogres also have the same pressure points as humans. Damon proceeds to kill the ogre once and for all by stabbing another vital pressure point and then faints from sheer exhaustion and pain while the bewildered onlookers from above watch in amazement.
After razing the Moyong Clan’s estate, Dokgo Seong raided a secret Murim Alliance base. Although the base was defended by nearly a thousand men and numerous high-level masters, Dokgo Seong and his three hundred Demon King Guards overwhelmed them with their superior fighting prowess. But the victory came at a price, as forty Demon King Guards were killed during the battle. It deeply pains Dokgo Seong to see the corpses of the slain men, as the guards were the only true friends and companions he ever had. It's been three years since they started fighting together, and their numbers have dropped from five hundred to under three hundred since they were only deployed in the most dangerous battles, often against much superior numbers.
Unlike most other warriors of the Chaotic Factions, who kill their injured to be spared the hassle of caring for them, Dokgo Seong had been adamant about rescuing every Demon King Guardsmen who’d lost limbs or suffered critical wounds from battles. Thus, while he was reviled as the "Heaven Destroying Blood Demon” by his enemies, thousands of whom were killed by his own hands, he earned the love and loyalty of the Demon King Guards—enough so that every single one of them was prepared to lay down his life for him.
So when the Chief Guardian, who was sent from the Zoroastrian headquarters to assess the situation on the front lines, insists that they must abandon their dead and wounded in order to attack the next target right away, Dokgo Seong blasts him and orders a retreat to a nearby Zoroastrian base instead, to regroup and take the wounded to safety.
Dokgo Seong’s refusal angers the Chief Guardian, but he doesn’t dare to openly disobey the High Priest’s wishes. However, he regards the Demon King Guards as expendable trash, as they were the children the Zoroastrians had abducted from all over the Middle Kingdom solely to fight and die for the sect. He regards Dokgo Seong in the same way, for the Chief Guardian's true master was Sa Jun-Hwan. To him, Dokgo Seong was nothing but a puppet to be used until Sa Jun-Hwan revealed his true colors. Even the captain of the Demon King Guards, Jongli Ryeong, was one of Sa Jun-Hwan's men sent to spy on Dokgo Seong.
While retreating to the Zoroastrian base, Dokgo Seong is approached by Gwak Sang, one of his lieutenants. He voices suspicion over Sa Jun-Hwan's motives, saying how the battles they’ve been ordered to fight in the recent days have been especially tough and almost impossible for them to win. However, Dokgo Seong has complete faith in Sa Jun-Hwan and refuses to listen to Gwak’s words. But Gwak remains concerned, especially given the rumors that were spreading throughout the murim that portrayed Dokgo Seong and the Demon King Guards as unforgivable bloodthirsty villains who even butchered innocent children and women. This, of course, wasn’t true. Dokgo Seong and his men often left quickly after a battle was won and let the other Zoroastrian forces deal with remnants on the battlefield. In contrast, Sa Jun-Hwan was regarded as someone just and fair despite being the High Commander of Zoroastrians warring against the righteous factions. But unbeknownst to Gwak Sang and others, such rumors were being spread on Sa Jun-Hwan’s orders.
The Chief Guardian leaves Dokgo Seong after they arrive at the base and heads straight back to the Zoroastrian headquarters. He meets with Sa Jun-Hwan and reports that despite Dokgo Seong’s bloodlust on the battlefield, he has yet to go insane. This baffles Sa Ju-Hwan since he expected Dokho Seong to be consumed by madness because of the Divine Blood Demon Technique he’d mastered. Sa Jun-Hwan suspects that the Seven Sealing Art, which has been suppressed, but not completely nullified by the technique, is actually keeping Dokgo Seong’s sanity intact. But Sa isn’t particularly concerned: the technique amplified madness every time the user killed someone. At the rate Dokgo Seong was killing, he was sure to soon reach the breaking point when the madness would completely overwhelm the seal's restraints. Sa Jun-Hwan also inquires about Jongli Ryeong, the spy he planted among the Demon King Guards, but doesn’t quite fully trust since Sa was only controlling Jongli Ryeong by holding his family hostage. Sa Jun-Hwan orders the Chief Guardian to keep a close watch on both Dokgo Seong and Jongli Ryeong.
Feldrian is the capital of Icarot and arguably the greatest city on the continent of Truvania. Its massive, thick walls are dotted with numerous turrets and barbicans manned by nervous sentries who look up constantly at the clouded night sky, wary of orc wyvern-riders who often raided the city under cover of night.
The men of the 57th Sentry Unit in one of those watchtowers discuss the war and are worried about ill-tidings from the front lines that reached the city recently: news of losses and of the human forces being pushed back from all sides. Among the sentries are men named MacMillan, Hans, Fahsat, and Henson, and their conversation meanders toward a peculiar foreign mercenary who joined them just a fortnight ago. His hideous looks and strange weapons— spiked gauntlets—generate much interest among the sentries. The fact that it was the royal mage of Icarot, Benitez, who brought the man and ordered him to be watched closely only served to heighten their curiosity. However, their questions remained unanswered for the time being because the foreigner couldn’t speak a word of their tongue.
When other sentries arrive to relieve them for the next shift, MacMillan remembers the foreigner who’s been keeping a solitary watch in one of the barbicans and goes to fetch him. Using hand gestures, he gets the foreigner to follow him and takes him to the mess hall for a meal.
The foreign mercenary is Damon, who, after slaying the twin-headed ogre, was bedridden for days due to severe injuries, which included four broken ribs. He was assigned to serve as a sentry on the walls, and Benitez had clasped a magical bracelet onto him and warned him not to run away since the bracelet would reveal his whereabouts. But running wasn’t an option he was considering as he wanted to learn the common tongue and find ways to learn magic. So he was content to play sentry and concentrate on learning the language for the time being.
He trudges after MacMillan to the mess hall and sits down for a meal of soup and stale bread. Unlike MacMillan who devours his food ravenously, Damon eats the food simply out of necessity. Since his return to the Sect of Zoroaster after escaping from the Shaolin Temple, he reveled in the luxury of fine cuisine and eventually became quite an epicure. In fact, when the war broke out, he learned the culinary arts himself as he couldn’t bring gourmet chefs to the battlefield with him. After ten years of constant fighting (and cooking), he became a masterful chef and the Demon King Guards were happy to oblige whenever he cooked something. Thus, the food in front of him was inferior fare that fell well short of his fine tastes, but Damon knew he was in no position to complain. After the meal, he follows MacMillan to the crowded barracks and lies down in a spot that MacMillan found for him to turn in for the night.
The Great Faction War that embroiled the whole murim has finally come to an end. Contrary to early predictions that said the Righteous Factions would have the upper hand, they were constantly pushed back by the unified forces of the Chaotic Factions. However, a decade of constant warring took a heavy toll on both sides, with major factions suffering crippling losses and numerous smaller factions and sects having been exterminated altogether. The leaders of both sides were forced to call a truce, and peace has finally returned to the land, however uneasy a peace it may have seemed.
But if there was a faction that benefited from the war, it was undoubtedly the Sect of Zoroaster. Under the maneuvering of the masterful strategist, Sa Jun-Hwan, the sect was able to score many decisive victories with minimal losses, unlike most factions on both sides that suffered grievous casualties. It raised the reputation of Zoroaster, and the sect's rival factions could only watch because it was undeniable that Dokgo Seong, the Heaven Destroying Blood Demon, and his Demon King Guards were the main reason why the Chaotic Factions were able to dominate the Righteous Factions. Countless factions and warriors of the Righteous Factions had fallen victim to Dokgo Seong and his men, and while he was reviled and feared by his enemies, he was a hero and absolute ruler to the followers of Zoroaster, who worshipped him zealously. However, his rapid rise to fame, stature, and power stirred jealousy among other Chaotic Factions, particularly the Demonists, who were the most influential of the Chaotic Factions, but who were eclipsed by the Zoroastrians by the time the war came to an end.
The ten-year war has also transformed Dokgo Seong and the Demon King Guards significantly. He was still the same small hunchback with a hideous face who had ran away from the Shaolin Temple twenty years ago, but no one under the sun would dare to scorn him or look down on him in contempt any longer. And the 180 remaining Demon King Guards were honed and tempered into the finest fighting force in the land by an endless stream of desperate battles. In fact, they could even annihilate the original five hundred Demon King Guards easily if they were pitted against each other. And these elite warriors were Dokgo Seong’s men through and through, and with the cessation of hostilities, they finally headed back to the Zoroastrian headquarters.
Dokgo Seong and the Demon King Guards were received with great enthusiasm when they arrived at headquarters. Sa Jun-Hwan separated Dokgo Seong from the Demon King Guards by leading him to a feast while the Guards were led away to another by the Chief Guardian. Throughout the feast Sa flatters and praises Dokgo Seong, telling him that he will be pronounced as the official High Priest of the sect the next day. He caps his performance by dropping to his knees in front of Dokgo Seong and pledging his loyalty to the new High Priest. Already thoroughly grateful for all that was given to him, Dokgo Seong is overwhelmed by the gesture and leans forward to pull Sa back up to his feet. But at that moment, Sa stabs him in the gut with a dagger. As Dokgo Seong stares in shock, Sa gloats that he was just a tool for Sa’s purpose and had no more part left to play. Sa reveals that the Divine Blood Demon Technique Dokgo Seong learned was flawed and was supposed to drive him mad within five years of mastering it. He adds that it was he who set up Dokgo Seong’s father, Dokgo Mugi, to be ambushed by the high masters of the Righteous Factions and that he had also ordered the Great Shaolin Monk’s murder, framing Dokgo Seong as the killer. Sa delivers the final blow by revealing that the lamb’s blood Dokgo Seong consumed during his training was actually human blood taken from the children of Zoroastrian officials and followers that Sa had secretly abducted and killed. As rage and hate-filled as he was, the revelations nearly drive Dokgo Seong to madness, but he could only stare helplessly at the man who betrayed both him and his father because not only was his ki center nearly destroyed when he was stabbed, but he was poisoned and drugged during the feast and was fast losing consciousness. But just before he passes out, the Demon King Guards burst into the hall and spirit him away. It wasn’t something Sa Jun-Hwan had expected, as the Demon King Guards were supposed to have been drugged during the feast in the other hall and already disposed of, but Jongli Ryeong remained faithful to Dokgo Seong in the end and foiled Sa’s plan by warning the other guards of the treachery in advance.
Sa was enraged that his plan had gone awry due to the appearance of the Demon King Guards and was shocked by their fighting prowess. Still, he moved quickly to pursue Dokgo Seong and complete the coup. He first turned general sentiment in the sect against Dokgo Seong by revealing the fact that Dokgo Seong had learned the forbidden Divine Blood Demon Technique, and then framed him for the murder of 1,000 children of Zoroastrian officials who were sacrificed so he could master the technique. Next, he engaged the Righteous Factions, who welcomed the chance of eliminating their most feared adversary, and even the Demonists to join the pursuit of Dokgo Seong. Consequently, Dokgo Seong and the Demon King Guards became the enemies of the entire murim, hunted by both the Righteous and Chaotic Factions. Jongli Ryeong, in a desperate attempt to save his lord’s life, split the surviving Demon King Guards into smaller units and sent them in several directions to serve as diversions. He then hid the still unconscious body of Dokgo Seong using a secret Zoroastrian technique and with the remaining men, he prepared a last stand against the massive number of pursuers that caught up to them on the Jeok-ryeong Plains.
*** The End of Flashbacks / the Middle Kingdom Scenes ***
It’s been six months since Damon’s arrival in Truvania. With his superb intellect, he managed to learn enough of the Common Tongue to communicate with others, if not entirely fluently. Men of the 57th Sentry Unit and others in the city's garrison shunned Damon at first because of his grotesque looks, but that all changed after one of the nightly raids by the orc’s wyvern-riders. On that night, the orcs focused their attack on the section of the wall that was being guarded by Damon’s unit, and within moments the wall was swarming with squadrons of orc rangers who dropped down from ropes hung around the wyverns. Heavily outnumbered and demoralized by the orcs’ fighting spirit, the sentries were pushed back rapidly and faced imminent annihilation. That was when Damon stepped in. His intense killing aura overwhelmed even the orcs and paralyzed them with fear, and while Damon stalled them single-handedly, reinforcements arrived to destroy the invaders. Damon's name spread throughout the city’s garrison after that battle, not just because he bought the defenders precious time, but because he also dispatched over twenty orcs by himself with just a pair of spiked gauntlets—a weapon that soldiers in general didn’t regard as a proper weapon. The men of his sentry unit started to warm up to him as well. And in many raids that followed, Damon saved their lives a number of times and was able to befriend them as a result.
Damon didn’t care that he fallen from being one of the mightiest warriors and lords of the land to a mere sentry in a foreign world. He had lost all his martial arts, and with his ki center broken, he couldn’t feel any inner ki at all. He came to accept that he’d never get his old powers back and reminded himself once again that magic was the only option he had left. He resolves to go and see Benitez next time he has time off from his sentry duties.
A month later, Damon’s 57th Sentry Unit finally had a day off, and MacMillan offered to show him around the city. The city was in a festive mood, as Icarot’s elite knight corps has returned from the front lines after scoring a resounding victory. Standing among the cheering crowd, Damon watches the parade of soldiers and knights. The sight of footmen and mounted knights clad in splendid heavy armor didn’t impress Damon, who thought that he and a hundred Demon King Guards could destroy them all in just half a day. In the Middle Kingdom, the development of inner-ki based martial arts made heavy armor completely useless; expert martial artists could manipulate their ki at will to bypass the armor and strike the target’s body directly. Armor only served to slow the wearer’s movements, thus, murim factions rarely ever wore metal armor. But it was different in Truvania where the art of combat was focused on weapon’s mastery based on physical strength. This was due to the fact that the main enemies here were monsters such as orcs and trolls rather than other humans. And unlike in the murim, where battles between martial artists were often fought as personal duels or in relatively smaller numbers, large scale conflicts involving tens of thousands of men were common in Truvania, and heavy armor became an essential part of the war.
As Damon watches the procession with disdain, a great cheer suddenly erupts from the crowds when four handsome knights appear. Damon observes their armor—which looked thinner and lighter than the ones worn by the heavily armored knights who went before them—with interest; every surface of their armor was covered with complex geometric patterns. MacMillan excitedly explains that they are the four most powerful sword masters in the Icarotian Empire and names two of them as Sir Helbertron and Sir Leindelf. When Damon asks about their armor, he answers that they don’t need thicker armor thanks to their peerless swordsmanship and their ability to strengthen armor with their mana, and that their armor has magical protection against magic attacks. MacMillan adds that even a hundred common soldiers like him and Damon could not hope to even touch one of them in combat. Damon smiles bitterly thinking he was once also a great warrior perhaps comparable to those sword masters.
Damon asks MacMillan how strong the sword masters are compared to Emperor Crossen, but the question shocks MacMillan, and with a pale face he tells Damon never to mention that name again—it’s taboo.
Damon also learns from MacMillan that mages form the core of any army along with the knight corps and can decide the outcome of a battle with their powerful destructive spells. To Damon’s dismay, he explains that one must start to learn magic from a young age and that the only way a grown man can learn it is by becoming a dark mage, some of whom were present in the parade. Damon is surprised by that because Schrechimer had told him that all dark mages were executed following the war against the army of darkness, but MacMillan replies that some were spared and imprisoned in dungeons for years until they were released when the war against the orcs began. People could learn black magic at an older age since dark mages acquire magical powers by entering a contract with a demon lord, which can be done once a dark mage attains the first circle. MacMillan adds that black magic is more offensively powerful than white magic and that learning it is often the only way a commoner can become a mage. However, he notes that rarely does anyone delve into black magic because it requires selling one’s soul to a demon lord. Even in the last war against Neidelharke, every dark mage in Truvania had switched sides immediately upon the appearance of the demon lord. MacMillan advises Damon to forget about learning black magic since a dark mage always end up as a demon lord’s slave.
Despite MacMillan’s advice, Damon goes to the palace the next morning to see Benitez. His recent fame among the city’s garrison gets him an audience with the First Mage, and Damon asks Benitez to teach him magic. Benitez is surprised to discover that Damon has already learned enough of the Common Tongue to carry on a conversation, but flatly rejects his request because he has neither the desire nor the time to teach him magic. He explains to Damon that the fact he was once a sword master won’t help him learn magic because a mage uses a different kind of mana, and then cites Damon’s advance age as the other crucial deterrent. Benitez tells him that even Benitez himself had to spend decades to reach the seventh circle and reveals that despite his middle-aged looks, he’s actually eighty-four years old. But when Damon insists on learning magic, Benitez loses his temper and orders the guards to have him removed. At this point, Damon wails loudly, crying that he’d rather die on the spot than suffer any further indignity. He tells Benitez that he should have just let him die instead of bringing him to this world. Burdened by guilt because Damon’s accusation rang true, Benitez caves and promises that he'll look for a way to help him learn magic.
It was another month before Benitez sent for him, and Damon is told that he has been accepted as a palace guard. It surprises every man in the 57th Sentry Unit since only tall and good-looking sons from noble or wealthy merchant families could join the elite ranks of the palace guards, but they congratulate him wholeheartedly. MacMillan tells him that they will probably never see each other again, as the men were likely to be sent to the front lines soon.
After bidding the men of his unit farewell, Damon enters the palace and learns that Benitez persuaded Duke Sergey to enlist him as a safeguard against large monsters such as trolls or ogres should they ever teleport directly into the castle since he’s the only common soldier known to have killed such monsters single-handedly. And as a palace guard, Damon is assigned to guard the magic academy within the palace, which would allow him to attend lectures and enter classrooms. Damon thanks him gratefully and leaves to assume his new duty, but Benitez doubts Damon will be able to learn anything. Magic is a field of study that requires strong fundamental knowledge before one can proceed to the next stage, and with the standard of teaching in the academy being quite advanced, it wasn’t likely for Damon to get anything out of it since he was devoid of even the most rudimentary knowledge of magic.
The Second War of Races between humans and orcs has reached a stalemate. Following the smashing victory in the Battle of Tranvorre, orcs conquered around 60% of the continent of Truvania, but halted their advance to breed and replenish their numbers. The First War of Races had left the orcs much depleted, but with resources pillaged from newly acquired territories, orcs were multiplying quickly. And as a newborn orc was ready to fight in just five years, it was only a matter of time before they launched another full-scale offensive. Dragons also needed a respite to recharge their mana, for their mana wasn’t inexhaustible, and they had to cast spell after spell of high circle magic to neutralize human castles—the most powerful means of defense known to man. Human forces tried to reclaim lost territories during this temporary reprieve, but interventions by dragons and frequent raids on cities well behind the front lines by wyvern-riders served to greatly deter and demoralize human troops. Moreover, with the orcs expected to resume the war in earnest within five years, human kingdoms needed something to turn the tide of the war.
The First War of Races of a hundred years ago raged on for fifty years before humans finally defeated orcs and drove them into the Pelrusian Mountains. Humans prevailed despite being heavily outnumbered thanks to three factors: fortified castles for defense, heavily armored knights, and strategically flexible military formations consisting of different unit types, such as footmen, archers, and knights. But the involvement of dragons took away those advantages, as their devastating spells demolished whole castles and made it unfeasible to deploy tight formations on the field in fear of spells that rained down destruction on large areas. Furthermore, large monsters like trolls and ogres, cowed into fighting alongside orcs by dragons, were effective against the knights’ charges. Therefore, the human kings gathered at the capital of Tranbel became elated when Sergey, a duke of Icarot who served as the Chief of Intelligence for the Human Alliance, reported that dragons would soon be forced to sleep for a long time as part of their natural cycle. Their joy is short-lived however, for it will be ten years before all dragons enter their long slumber. Dragon Lord Kranus, who hasn’t yet appeared on any battlefield, is suspected of maintaining a magical barrier blocking the sea between Truvania and Arcadia. Of the three Ancient Dragons, only the Red Dragon Verkis has played an active role in the war, inflicting the greatest damage on human forces. Sergey concludes his report by asserting that to ensure the survival of humans in Truvania, they must endure the onslaught at all costs for the next ten years until the dragons withdraw from the battlefield completely.
The situation grows dire in Feldrian, the capital of Icarot. The nightly raids by orcs are so frequent that hundreds of men are dying on the walls every night, and soldiers and citizens alike live under constant fear. But the strife of war did not reach the palace, and it had been a month since Damon, covered from head to toe in the armor of a palace guard, started attending lectures in the magic academy. He stood guard for hours listening to lectures every day, even taking over other guards' shifts so he could spend more time in the lecture halls. He committed to memory everything he heard in those lectures, but the advanced subjects taught in the academy were too much for a complete novice like Damon to tackle without any basic knowledge. A small break came when one of the professors took enough interest in him and answered his questions at the end of lectures, but it was hardly enough for Damon to make any real progress. A month later, he is banished from the palace altogether after he asks a question during a lecture given by the academy’s dean. The professor who helped Damon had warned him about the dean, but in his frustration, Damon had forgotten the warning. The dean was repulsed to see Damon’s face when he removed his helmet, and upon learning that his rival, Benitez, was responsible for Damon’s assignment as a palace guard, the dean requested Duke Sergey to banish Damon from the palace. Damon is dismayed even further when he learns that his mates in the 57th Sentry Unit have all been sent to the front lines and he must look for another unit to join.
After leaving the palace, instead of returning to the city garrison, Damon wanders around different taverns to find a mage who might teach him magic. Remembering how he was scorned and derided by everyone before he mastered the Divine Blood Demon Technique, he was prepared to do anything to learn magic and become powerful once more. But suddenly, he realizes that although all his martial arts were lost, he still knows by heart the words to the Asura Demonic Spirit Ki Technique, the inner ki accumulation method that helped the Demon King Guards to become the most powerful fighting force in the Middle Kingdom. Damon is confident that the technique is superior to whatever Emperor Crossen (who Damon surmises must have been from a Righteous Faction) taught to the Crossen Knights to turn them into sword masters, and he also knows that he could use it as leverage to obtain help with learning magic. But it meant bending his head to Duke Sergey, and his dislike for Duke Sergey made it difficult for him to swallow such a thing. In the end, he decides to leave the technique as the last resort in case everything else failed.
However, his search for a teacher wasn’t going well. With the human forces constantly on the defensive, very few war mages were allowed leave, and the few he was able to meet did not take him seriously. While most of them mistook his pleas for the rants of a madman, some ridiculed him for being a fool who dared to learn magic at his age and mocked him for being a hideous looking foreigner. A fortnight later, word of Damon’s futile search even reach Sergey, who scoffed and thought Damon a fool who took magic too lightly. But Damon was technically a deserter who hadn’t reported for duty in two weeks, and Sergey orders Benitez to send assassins to dispatch Damon quietly if he fails to return to the garrison within a month.
As days pass, the rumor of a grotesque hunchback looking for a mage to teach him magic begins to spread on the streets of Feldrian. Citizens everywhere who heard the rumor laugh at his absurd quest and jeer that Damon must be out of his mind trying to learn magic at his age. Completely ignorant of the fact that he has become a laughing stock of the whole city, Damon continues to look for someone who’ll teach him magic, but all to no avail. The mages he found were weary from the war and simply had no interest in teaching magic to a foreigner who wasn’t even young. Damon tries desperately, even asking to serve as a bodyguard, but no mage was keen on hiring a hideous looking hunchback as a personal guard. As his despair deepens, he resorts to drinking and spends less time looking for mages, not knowing that the month which he has to live is almost up.
Eventually, Damon can no longer endure the humiliation and gives up on learning magic altogether. When he was rejected by the last mage he asked, his frustration finally boiled over and he attacked the mage. But in his rage, he forgot about the Seven Sealing Art. The moment he struck down a guard with murder in his heart, he fell to the ground clutching his head, and the guards proceeded to give him a severe thrashing. Damon lost the will to continue his search after that incident, but he just couldn’t bring himself to beg Sergey for help in return for the Asura Demonic Spirit Ki Technique. So to drown his sorrows, he drinks with what little money he has, and soon, even that runs out.
But just as he leaves the tavern, thinking he would be better off dead than returning to being a sentry, he runs into a man cowled in black robes. The man is a mage who came to see Damon specifically because of the rumor, and he expresses disappointment at seeing a disheveled drunkard. Damon begs desperately for help, explaining how he was driven to drinking because no one would teach him magic, but that he has to learn magic at all costs and would even give up his life if he has to. The mage listens silently, and then beckons him to follow. Damon arrives at a large inn where he encounters the mage and his guards who beat him up just days before. In the scuffle that ensues, Damon concentrates on suppressing his killing intent, thinking it as a test the cowled mage was putting him through. To the amazement of the onlookers, he makes short work of the guards that surround him, taking down all six heavily armored men with bare hands in the blink of an eye. When their mage, angered at seeing his guards beaten, tries to intervene, the cowled mage steps in by aiming a huge ball of lightning at the mage; the mage cowers at the demonstration of power, and it is evident to everyone that the cowled mage is far superior in magic to the other mage.
The cowled mage praises Damon on his unarmed combat skills, and Damon begs the mage to teach him magic. The mage removes his cowl, and Damon is shocked to see a horribly disfigured face that is even more horrendous than his own. The mage tells Damon that his name is Doyle Brokenheart, probably one of the only two bearers of the surname in the whole continent. He also reveals that he is a dark mage, but is surprised to see Damon unfazed by the knowledge. Doyle accepts Damon as his apprentice and confounds Damon by citing Damon’s age as his reason for taking him in: Doyle himself was old when he started learning magic, nearly forty years old at the time. He became a dark mage’s apprentice after years of wandering around the continent, but as was the case with most dark mages, who were often twisted and cruel (not to mention evil enough to enter a demon lord’s service, which was why it wasn’t a crime in Truvania to kill a dark mage), he was often tortured by his master. In the end, he was left horribly disfigured after suffering severe burns during an experiment where his master used him as a live test subject. Doyle also feels a sense of kinship with Damon, who was also grotesque in appearance and understood what a horrid life Damon must have lived and the suffering and humiliation he must have endured. He tells Damon that while he is not sure how much Damon will be able to learn from him, he will do the best he can to teach him. Damon is overwhelmed by his sincerity and generosity and vows to serve Doyle as his faithful apprentice and to treat him as if he were Damon’s parent, which flusters Doyle, for such an expression of extreme gratitude wasn’t something common in Truvania.
Doyle was a war mage in a special detachment of Icarot’s 8th Legion, and he tells Damon that he will take him to the battlefield in two days when his furlough is over. Damon was worried about being a deserter and also by the fact that Sergey wasn't likely to let him leave, so he suggests a plan which involves him slipping out of the castle unseen and joining him outside the walls. But Doyle shakes his head, saying he has enough influence to bring Damon out. And true to his word, Doyle marches straight to the palace and demands that Sergey releases Damon into his service. Sergey is enraged since he was about to send assassins to kill Damon, whom he considered an insolent, useless off-worlder. It also aggravates him that a mere dark mage would make such a demand of him, but as Doyle was a sixth circle dark mage who was almost as powerful as a seventh circle mage and extremely valuable in the war, he grudgingly gives in and grants Doyle’s demand. And Benitez, who's been carrying a burden of guilt when it comes to Damon since he was the one who brought him over to this world, silently bids him farewell. As he draws up the order for Damon’s reassignment, he thinks that Damon has at least gained what he wished for, though it’s uncertain how far he will be able to go.
The very next day, Damon and Doyle leave for the battlefield accompanied by an entourage of around 50 mounted knights and a few hundred footmen. Damon treats Doyle with extreme devotion, which makes Doyle happy, as Damon was his first apprentice ever. Because of all the suffering he had to endure under his master, Dark Mage Brizmahn, Doyle had sworn to never take any apprentice for himself. Doyle was 38 when he entered the service of Brizmahn, who already had nearly 30 other apprentices at the time. But it was pure hell, for his master, the dark mage, was a fiend of pure evil who had no qualms about sacrificing the lives of his apprentices for the sake of his experiments. Within a year of becoming his apprentice, Doyle saw how most of his fellow apprentices died horribly during experiments that involved combining the bodies of humans with those of beasts and monsters to produce the chimera. When it was Doyle’s turn, Brizmahn tried to combine him with a Salamander, a mid-level fire elemental, and the experiment left much of his body horribly burned and disfigured. Brizmahn commended Doyle’s tenacity in clinging to life and accepted him as his second apprentice. But Doyle swore to exact his revenge. Until then though, he kept his emotions hidden and worked on learning the art of black magic from his master. When the War of Darkness broke out, Brizmahn and all his apprentices took part in it. Brizmahn was killed, not by the hand of an enemy, but by his own apprentice. The first apprentice, Drew, who the dark mage had merged with a troll, attacked and injured Brizmahn severely before he was burned to death by his master. Facing death, Brizmahn turned to Doyle to assist him in becoming a lich, but Doyle refused and left him to die. He took over all of his master’s belongings—various magical tomes and equipment—which helped him to improve his magical abilities. But he, too, couldn’t resist the call of Neidelharke and fell under the sway of his power, turning his magic against fellow man. He was captured alive when the demon lord was defeated, but instead of being put to death, he was imprisoned for 30 years in a dungeon and was made to pay for his sins by making various magical items.
Glancing at his apprentice walking beside his cart, Doyle tells himself that he will teach Damon everything he knows, and although he had to go through much torment to become what he is, he will make sure that Damon doesn’t go through what he had to endure. So for the first time in his life, Damon found someone whom he could truly call master and teacher.
Damon and Doyle’s company runs into a host of about five hundred orcs and an ogre. Ogres are highly resistant to magic and orc forces have been deploying ogres against human mages. Standing behind a hastily formed line of defense, Doyle casts Chain Lightning on the rushing tide of orcs, a second circle spell that is effective against multiple enemies. When the orcs assume a tightly packed formation behind grunts holding wooden bucklers to fend off further lightning attacks, Doyle unleashes Flame Strike, powerful fifth circle fire magic, on the concentrated mass. The huge explosion that ensues obliterates over half of the orc troops, and Damon watches in awe, understanding why mages are regarded so highly in the war. However, the ogre escaped the barrage and continued to charge towards Doyle, who casts more spells to slow down and bind the monster. But before it's overwhelmed by the rushing human soldiers, the ogre throws its huge club at the mage, catching him unaware. But just as it looked like the club would crush the mage, Damon throws himself in front of Doyle and took the blow instead, flying from the impact, his breastplate crushed. The rest of the men swarm the ogre to finish it off, while Damon is left with two broken ribs and bruises all over his body. But thanks to his injuries, Damon is allowed to travel the rest of the way on the cart with Doyle while recuperating.
Doyle takes a great liking to Damon, moved by his new apprentice who was so devoted that he even risked his life to save his master. While on the cart, Doyle begins to teach him the theories of magic—the fundamental knowledge that Damon so craved. But Damon despairs to learn that it normally takes at least three years to be able to gather mana; it took Doyle himself four and a half years because he was quite old when he started learning magic. Four years would be much too long (since all of humanity might be wiped out before then), and would make it impossible for Damon to return to the Middle Kingdom to exact his revenge on Sa Jun-Hwan. But Doyle assures him that he is actually fortunate since Doyle has the experience to help Damon learn magic in the quickest way possible and that Damon would be able to gather mana in two years if he applied himself. Damon is overwhelmed by Doyle's kindness and is moved to tears. Until then, the only person who had genuinely cared for him was the Great Monk Hye-Jeong (who also happened to place the Seven Sealing Art on him). But here in this alien world of Truvania, so far away from his own world, he'd met another. Damon swears to Doyle that he will never forget what he’s done for him, and Doyle continues the lesson saying that once Damon attains the first circle, he will be able to form a contract with a demon lord.
The War of Races was quickly drawing to a close. Although human forces have recaptured some of their lost territory, everyone knew it was only a temporary gain while dragons were resting to recharge their mana. The knowledge that dragons would soon enter their long slumber was the only hope that humans had left to cling to, and the human rulers gathered once again to discuss a new development that could lift the spirits of the demoralized troops and the general populace.
Grand Cleric Schrechimer, who had left for the front lines right after learning that Damon has lost all his powers, had returned with the discovery of a Holy Maiden of Verhajel. It astonished everyone, as Truvania hasn’t seen a Holy Maiden for many years since the War of Darkness. In the past, when the Verhajel Faith prospered, there had been a Holy Maiden in almost every temple found across the continent, and her authority exceeded even that of kings or high-ranking clergy of the Faith. Blessed by the supreme deity himself, all Maidens were beautiful and pure of heart, possessing the Mind’s Eye that allowed them to see into the heart of every living being and love them equally without discrimination. Regarded as the medium that helps humans get closer to Verhajel, the Maidens were long respected and revered, for it was their duty to deliver the wishes of humans to god. However, their numbers diminished during the Great Tribulations; they were particularly sensitive to the death of living things, and the ceaseless slaughter that was occurring all over the land was too much for them to bear, driving them to the grave. But it was the War of Darkness that wiped out every Holy Maiden, as the demon lord Neidelharke hunted and killed every one he could get his hands on. He'd feared the Maidens’ ability to communicate with Verhajel on behalf of humans. Consequently, many Holy Maidens perished without bearing children—something fatal to the order as a whole since it was their firstborn daughter who inherited the blood and holy duty to become a new Holy Maiden. The Maidens stayed virgins throughout their lives, but they were able to bear children nonetheless; it was a great mystery in Truvania and could only be explained as a miracle and blessing of Verhajel. But since the theft of the human oathstone, Holy Maidens could no longer conceive. Human rulers tried to save them by finding husbands for the few remaining Maidens, but none of the daughters born from mortal wedlock possessed the Mind’s Eye, and eventually, the Holy Maidens disappeared from Truvania altogether.
Yet Schrechimer had found a Holy Maiden with the Mind’s Eye, who had been protected by a small group of priests who took refuge in the remote kingdom of Radenburg during the War of Darkness. Buoyed by the revelation and the emergence of another hope (since she could beseech Verhajel directly to save humans), Sergey sends knights and mages to bring the Holy Maiden to Iscarot immediately.
Schrechimer then asks about Damon even though he knows there's little hope he’d be alive since the cleric knew what kind of a man Sergey was. So he is amazed to hear that Damon is not only alive, but is serving under the dark mage Doyle, fighting on the front lines. Sergey proceeds to tell the Grand Cleric about the test he had put Damon through, and Schrechimer is startled again to learn that Damon managed to slay a twin-headed ogre. However, he soon loses interest, thinking he no longer had anything to do with the off-worlder who was now just a common soldier. Instead, he turns his mind toward the matter of the Holy Maiden and is filled with hope that his discovery might save the entire human race in Truvania.
This was roughly where the manhwa ended. The manhwa version was very faithful to the novel, except for two points:
1. The rivalry between Damon and Yeongho Myeong. While Yeongho Myeong did hold a deep grudge against Damon, Damon never knew much about him nor did he consider him a rival.
2. The female spellcaster, Eldrich, who appears with Doyle Brokenheart; she’s an original manhwa character and does not feature in the novel at all.
Iscarot’s 8th Legion and an orc tribe are locked in a fierce battle. The orcs have the advantage in numbers, but the humans are countering with superior tactical maneuvers. A sudden explosion amidst a mass of tightly-packed orcs blasts scores of grunts in an instant, the result of a powerful offensive spell. A pair of ogres and three trolls rush toward the source of the spell, smashing through the ranks of human footmen as if they were nothing but straw. Soon, the monsters have the mage in sight, but before they can reach him, a small figure appears out of nowhere and charges at them. Armed with a pair of spiked gauntlets and moving at a speed that eyes can barely follow, the man dodges the wild flurry of attacks from ogres and stabs the monsters at vital pressure points, dispatching both ogres in quick succession. Human soldiers nearby cheered at the sight of the falling ogres, while other soldiers swarmed the trolls and killed them. With the threat gone, the mage lets loose a huge fireball on the orc contingent, killing hundreds with the explosion. With half their forces lost, the orcs break away and flee. The battle turns into a rout as human knights and horsemen pursue and slaughter the fleeing orcs.
The man who took out the ogres was Damon, aided by the Haste spell—a spell that accelerates the flow of time for the person under the spell—and by a pair of Power Up Gauntlets that Doyle provided him with. Damon could use the spell and the magical gauntlets because he learned to sense and gather mana after just six months of studying magic—a feat that astounded Doyle and made him feel proud of his apprentice. He thought that no mage in the history of Truvania had ever reached that level as fast as Damon did.
Damon has changed a lot since he and Doyle joined the 8th Legion six months before. Doyle put Damon in charge of the five personal guards assigned to him, and Damon was well up to the task having once commanded hundreds of warriors. Moreover, his watchful eyes shielded Doyle from the prying eyes of informers watching the dark mage under the orders of higher-ups in the legion, so Doyle in turn was able to teach Damon magic without any concern. And as mages were only sought for major battles and were left to their own devices during other times so they could replenish their mana, Doyle had plenty of time to focus on teaching and training Damon. Not only that, Damon’s vast knowledge of circulating and controlling ki within his body proved to be invaluable to understanding how mana is manipulated. Thus, through Doyle’s expert teaching and his own determination, Damon was able to gather mana for the first time just a few days before. It wasn’t long before he attained the first circle and forged a contract with a demon lord that would allow him to grow even more powerful even more quickly.
However, gaining magical abilities wasn’t the only change that Damon went through in the six months. Damon was like a hunted animal prior to meeting Doyle. The despair, frustration, and hopelessness engendered by Sa Jun-Hwan’s betrayal, the deaths of his Demon King Guards in the Middle Kingdom, his abduction to a foreign world, and his fight for survival despite the loss of his powers had kept him desperate and constantly on an edge. But that changed when he was taken under Doyle’s wings, someone who genuinely wished Damon well and whom Damon could trust. Gradually, Damon became more relaxed and cheerful, and is filled with hope as he progresses smoothly into becoming a mage.
Damon watches on as the battlefield settles, thinking how he feels most comfortable when he’s in the thick of a battle. He is then approached by Royd, one of Doyle’s five bodyguards under his command. Royd acts friendly and expresses concern for Damon’s well-being, but knowing Royd is an informer, Damon replies curtly and goes to look for his master. He finds Doyle exhausted from exertion and depleted of mana, and he teases the old mage about how he’s getting on in years. Doyle acts like he's offended. He knows how devoted his apprentice is, but he feels that Damon's been getting rather cheeky lately and needs to be put back in his place. So he feigns anger and threatens Damon with an all-night mana training session where he must remain awake but insensate, devoid of hearing and sight. His plan is foiled immediately however, when Damon hints about cooking for him to celebrate the victory.
When they first arrived in the legion’s camp six months ago, Damon had become fed up with the inferior fare being served by the legion’s cooks and took it on himself to cook up something decent for his new master. As much as much as he was a connoisseur of fine food when he was in the Middle Kingdom, he was also a veteran cook with years of experience, who could prepare delicacies fit for any royal court. And what he served Doyle, although it was an ordinary dish by his standards due to the lack of ingredients available in the camp, was enough to astound the dark mage, who was used to eating plain boiled meat or roasted meat with salt. Since then, Damon cooked occasionally for Doyle and other guards, who came to regard it as a treat and looked forward to every occasion.
Having avoided all-night training, Damon goes off to get some meat from the quartermaster and is surprised by how quickly he’s given a whole suckling pig despite the general lack of supplies in the camp. Unbeknownst to Damon, his culinary expertise had been made known to the legion’s brass by Royd, who smuggled dishes in the past for them in the hope of currying their favor. They, too, were amazed by what they tasted and had since given orders to supply him with any ingredients should he come asking again. Damon cooks up a pork dish that is far more refined than anything he has served before, but just as the food is done, Doyle’s tent is visited by the legion’s commanding general, Duke Hausen, his aides, and other high-ranking officers. They proceed to finish off the food, marveling at the taste while ‘praising’ Doyle's efforts in the latest victory, much to the chagrin and disappointment of Doyle and the guards. But when they left the tent, Damon laughs and says he knew something was up when he was given the meat so readily, and what the officers ate was just something he cooked up to get rid of the intruders: the real dish was still being steamed, to allow all the flavors to saturate the meat. A happy celebration ensued when Damon brought out the dish, and while Doyle and the other guards feasted on the sumptuous fare, the informer, Royd, who fled from the tent when the officers left, had to chew on cold rations in the mess tents.
End of Volume 2.