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Chapter 544 545-The Devil's Proposition

"You can't do this! If you do, it's not just me who'll be in trouble—my companions will be dragged into a huge mess too! If you truly take residence within me, I'll kill myself at the first opportunity!"

Ali's gaze was resolute, her finger, charged with mana, aimed right at her temple.

A slight surge in mana would cause the tightly condensed mana beam to pierce through her brain.

Not even a deity could possibly save her then.

This posed a dilemma.

Diabolos scratched his chin, finding it rare to come across such an intriguing subject for observation, and he didn't wish for Ali to die just yet.

However, returning empty-handed was out of the question.

Encountering such an anomaly in Ali and then returning without anything to show for it would be the laughingstock among other devils.

When had Diabolos ever suffered such an indignity?

No, no, a compromise had to be found.

One that Ali could accept and that wouldn't cause him to lose face.

Perhaps replace it with a soul?

But that would make Ali no different from any other human, which would be a pity.

Yet, substituting it with something else clearly wouldn't match the value, truly violating his own rules.

Although Diabolos wasn't particularly concerned, there was no guarantee that those who spent their days in the mana ocean wouldn't intervene.

Diabolos had already seen the mark of an old friend on Ali's soul.


Indeed, an interesting name.

He wondered what expression this little one would wear upon learning the truth.

But, being someone he had taken an interest in, surely she wouldn't disappoint?

At last, Diabolos conceived a compromise.

It was somewhat bending the rules, but still within their confines.

"If you cannot accept me residing within your body, then you may choose a personal belonging for me to inhabit. Let me be clear, returning is out of the question. This journey has yielded nothing for me so far; it's a total loss."

This was the solution Diabolos came up with.

As experienced as he was, he certainly understood Ali's concerns.

Although he mentioned residing within her, he wouldn't exert any direct influence on Ali.

In fact, due to the constitution relationship, it could even enhance her affinity with mana.

However, this would inevitably brand Ali with the mark of a "pseudo-devil," an outcome Diabolos could not avoid.

He might deceive the eyes of humans, but if the adversary were a deity, complications would arise.

Yet, if the object of his residency were an item, the situation differed.

Surely, one wouldn't blame a son for his shoes being snatched by a stray dog and punish both the son and the dog.

Despite appearing agitated, Ali was actually quite composed.

She had roughly grasped Diabolos's modus operandi.

His principle centered on equivalent exchange, with his bottom line being to avoid losing face.

Although applying such terms to a devil might seem odd, isn't this world filled with all sorts of strange entities?

If he resided not within her but in one of her possessions, she would at least have a way to manage the situation.

That made it somewhat more acceptable.

"You're not going to say this now and then do as you please later, are you?"

If this devil truly intended to forcefully reside within Ali, suicide seemed her only recourse.

"Don't underestimate a devil's honor, you scoundrel!"

Diabolos's eye twitched in annoyance, astonished that his considerable concessions still failed to satisfy.

This is what makes humans such perplexing beings.

He wondered if those who impulsively created this race eons ago now harbored regrets.

Although his stay here was brief, it afforded Diabolos ample time to enact numerous plans.

Being an entity that stood shoulder to shoulder with deities, his negotiations with Ali were but a fraction of his focus; his avatars had already surveyed half of the Silverwind Empire.

He had gained a rough understanding of the current state of this world and even spotted some intriguing individuals along the way.

Beings not of this world, and more than one at that.

Were those entities starting to make their moves again?

"Then, how about this? Would it do?"

Ali pulled out a broken pocket watch from her upper pocket.

A cheap find from Breeze City, it had seemed a good purchase at the time, only to break after less than three days, causing her to be late once—a fitting companion for dealings with a being like a devil.

Diabolos's expression darkened.

While he wasn't particular about the object of his residency, a broken pocket watch was...

"Fine," he conceded yet another step.

Had he not had business here, why would he persist? While all seemed coincidental, who could say there weren't unseen forces at play?

Taking the broken watch in hand, Diabolos turned it over for inspection.

At first glance, it appeared decent, but a closer look revealed shoddy craftsmanship, a mere facade.

Clockwork is a true test of a craftsman's skill.

The quality of a clockmaker's work cannot be hidden.

With a touch of his right index finger to the face of the watch, without any noticeable action, crimson bloodstains spread across it.

Mana from the surroundings gathered around them under Diabolos's command, quickly forming a circle of dense, silver-white fog.


Two hundred meters north of the cavern, there lies an open field, the second concealment spot Roronora and Jelia had identified from the outset.

Should the enemy discover the cave, their plan was to retreat here for a temporary stay.

Despite the lack of cover, the area is always enshrouded in fog due to magnetic anomalies, disrupting mana perception and proving disadvantageous for magi.

"Roronora, do you think Ali will be alright?" Jelia, tightening the cloak around her, leaned against a tree trunk.

"She'll be fine."

Perched on a protruding branch, with her gaze directed towards the cave, Roronora squatted on the tree behind Jelia.

Though surrounded by thick fog, Roronora's vision, far superior to that of ordinary beings and enhanced further by her half-orc physiology and mana, allowed her to discern objects nearly a hundred meters away clearly—provided she remained still.

Movement would drastically reduce her field of vision to about thirty meters.

Even so, at this distance, she couldn't see what was happening at the cave's location.

It was too far, and staring in that direction served more as a psychological comfort than any practical use, a comfort not for herself.

Roronora was acutely aware of the potential dangers Ali might be facing.

If it were indeed a mana rampage, she would have sensed the mana fluctuations even from their position, but Roronora felt nothing.

Towards the cave, there wasn't the slightest hint of a mana rampage, not even significant mana fluctuations.

Except for the mana vibrations that had gathered at the beginning, the surrounding mana was in a natural state of even distribution—indicating that the possibility of a mana rampage was virtually non-existent.

Ali was facing a different kind of trouble, one that even he wasn't confident about resolving, which is why he had instructed them to leave with Jelia.

As Roronora left, he noticed the spell matrix atop the mound.

Despite his abilities, he couldn't decipher its purpose, but that didn't prevent him from speculating.

If the danger was external, fleeing with Jelia would be futile; the adversary would surely target Jelia, appearing more vulnerable.

In such a case, it might be wiser for him to hide in the cave with Jelia while Ali lured the enemy away.

This meant the likelihood of the danger coming from the outside was almost negligible.

Therefore, the most probable source of danger must be the spell itself.

A self-destructive spell matrix? Or a remote spell matrix deployed by an enemy? Without Ali's appearance, these questions remained unanswered.

Suddenly, Roronora's gaze shifted—mana fluctuations became intense, drawn by an elusive force toward the cave! Had the spell matrix unleashed its power?

Roronora grew anxious, the brief seconds stretching into what felt like an eternity.

Eventually, the convergence of mana ceased, a grandiose aura flashed by, and a figure appeared within Roronora's view as if by instantaneous movement—it was Ali!

However, Ali seemed somewhat different.

The most significant change was in strength.

If previously Roronora could confidently assert dominance over Ali, now, even from a hundred meters away, he could distinctly sense the dangerous aura emanating from Ali!

It was akin to a tiger ambling through the woods; seemingly languid but capable of earth-shattering ferocity once provoked.

What exactly had happened to Ali in those brief five minutes?

Despite being full of questions, Roronora knew only Ali could provide the answers.

He jumped down from the branch and patted Jelia's hair.

"Little master, stay behind me when the time comes."

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