Yeon-woo quickly scooped Chirpy out and the barrier quietly faded away. Chirpy’s condition was critical, his breath faint and his chest barely moving. Yeon-woo began to pour his magic power over him, activating his heat skill at the same time to warm him. He thought that the heat might help since Chirpy was of the fire element.
After some time, Chirpy’s breathing grew steady, and Yeon-woo set his skill to constantly feed warmth into Chirpy as he looked around. ‘What kind of battle happened here? And where’s the Phoenix?’ The traces of the fight weren’t enough to give him the information he wanted. He couldn’t even tell if the attackers had successfully killed the Phoenix. She was enormous, and there was no sign of her body in the nest, nor were there any traces of it being dragged away.
He’d only be able to get the entire story when Chirpy woke up. After ten minutes, Chirpy’s eyelashes began to flutter. “Chirpy.”
“Tweet.” As soon as Chirpy saw Yeon-woo, he made a tiny, exhausted sound, and tears began dripping from his eyes. He couldn’t communicate properly with Yeon-woo because he was still too little, but it seemed like he had a lot to say.
Yeon-woo quietly stroked his head to reassure him. Chirpy trembled, and with their strengthened connection, the events that had happened flashed through Yeon-woo’s eyes.
“Are you the Phoenix? You’re as big as I expected.” Yeon-woo raised his head towards the source of the voice, but he strangely couldn’t move his neck. He could only see things through a small peephole. It was only then that Yeon-woo realized what was going on. ‘This is Chirpy’s view.’ This was when the Phoenix had placed Chirpy inside the barrier under the rocks to hide him from the attackers. Chirpy tried as hard as he could to get out, but a force that had the Phoenix’s aura stopped him.
『I have never allowed humans to enter here, but I have also never invaded human territories either.』
“Is that important?”
『It is. That is the difference between good will and evil will. At the very least, I don’t have any evil will towards humans.』
“I’m sorry. We definitely have evil will. We need your Neidan.”
『What an arrogant human. Do you know how it ends for fools like you?』
“I don’t. But I know this well.” Someone stepped forward, scoffing. The Phoenix’s eyes were filled with annoyance. “This time, the ending will be different.” He pulled out a large sword. The peephole was too small for Yeon-woo to see the attacker’s face, but he immediately noticed the pattern on the blade. Only one person in the entire Tower had it. ‘The Saber God!’
Cheonghwado is like an island of people who’ve dedicated their lives to martial arts. They only work on training their martial arts skills to the extreme, so those who use artifacts or magic are looked down on. It’s important to be acknowledged just for your strength alone.
Because importance is placed on individual training, the members of the Cheonghwado tend to be self-centered, although there is a clear hierarchy among them. The Saber God is the closest to being a true martial artist. He is very self-disciplined and lives a regimented life without women or alcohol.
His entire world is centered on his sword. And even we had to be careful when he pulled his nine swords out at the same time. Of the Eight Clans, the Cheonghwado has the smallest number of members, which has made them fall behind in terms of power. But there’s a reason why they’re still so respected: the five Martial Gods. Each one of them is at the top of the rankings.
‘One of those guys was here.’ Yeon-woo snapped back to reality as Chirpy’s memory ended at that point since he’d fainted. However, Yeon-woo could put the pieces together now. The appearance of the Saber God only meant one thing: ‘The Phoenix is dead.’
He was sure of it. Chirpy could feel it, too, and he cried until all his tears were gone and Yeon-woo’s shirt was completely soaked. He’d only been born a month ago, and yet he’d already lost his mother. Yeon-woo held Chirpy tight until he calmed down. ‘The Phoenix saw her fate from the start, and she thought I might come to save Chirpy, so she protected him.’ Yeon-woo ground his teeth.
‘Did the Cheonghwado come after the Phoenix because of her Neidan?’ He couldn’t think of any other reason, and it wasn’t like the Cheonghwado and the Phoenix had any enmity. He ground his teeth again. Although he was on the Cheonghwado’s side along with the One-horned tribe, Chirpy was now the Cheonghwado’s enemy, and the little Phoenix had no one to lean on except him. This was probably why the Phoenix had entrusted Chirpy’s rescue to him.
He couldn’t take Chirpy to the Cheonghwado and leaving him behind wasn’t even an option. The thought didn’t even cross Yeon-woo’s mind. The Phoenix and Chirpy had become his family during his stay at their nest, and even though Chirpy hadn’t asked for it, he was going to avenge the Phoenix’s death. ‘But at the moment, it’s difficult to switch sides.’
He was going to destroy both Red Dragon and the Cheonghwado anyway, but he couldn’t just make the switch. Red Dragon was probably aware of his alliance by now, and besides, he’d killed Shanon. It was likely there was a price on his head by now. ‘I’ll think it over after we leave.’
He needed to return to his room and organize his thoughts, as well as learn what the Cheonghwado’s plans were. ‘If they came after the Phoenix, there’s a chance the other Legendary Beasts are in danger, too. I should investigate that, as well.’ Also, staying in the nest wouldn’t be good for Chirpy’s mental health.
Yeon-woo also had to figure out what happened to the Phoenix’s body. As he stood with Chirpy in his arms, a flame of many colors burst into life in midair. It was the Flame of Life, but not the one that his egg had received. This one was the true flame, the spark.
『I’m thankful you found my child. It’s a huge relief.』
Yeon-woo’s eyes widened at the familiar voice. Was she alive somewhere? But the Phoenix didn’t respond. It was just a will that she had left behind.
『The one called the Saber God is very strong. It was all I could do to save my youngest. It’s a relief that you didn’t forget about Chirpy. This might be the fate you and Chirpy share, and it could be a blessing.』The Phoenix continued in a grateful tone, 『Also. Don’t be too angry about my death. Remember, I am one who dies and returns to life with the flame. I’ve disappeared for now, but I’ll be born again. There’s no need for you to avenge me.』
No, Yeon-woo knew that the Phoenix wasn’t telling him the entire truth. Although she would be reborn, there was no set time for it to happen, and her new life would be separate from this one. It would be impossible to know the character the new Phoenix would have, and she wouldn’t have the same relationship with Chirpy. Death was death. However, he understood why the Phoenix wanted to console him. Chirpy needed someone to take care of him.
『Don’t be too angry, and take care of my child until I return. If it takes a while, take care of him until he can survive on his own. I’m asking this as a favor to me.』 The Phoenix worried about her children until her very last breath. 『Of course, I have something to offer you in return.』
At that moment, the flame suddenly rose and split into tongues that wrapped around Yeon-woo. 『It’s very weak, but it’ll help you and my youngest.』 The flames started to blend into his skin.
[The Phoenix has chosen you as her heir. Her will grants you the Flame of Life (Original).]
[Your previous contract with the Legendary Beast has strengthened.]
[It is reacting with Heaven Wing Mana Control. The skill Flame Infusion is reacting to the Flame of Life.]
[Magic Circuit is preparing to accept the Flame of Life.]
[Your body has opened.]
[The succession process is beginning.]
Yeon-woo felt all the cells in his body opening up, and he didn’t resist the flames as they entered through his pores into his Magic Circuit, Cores, and bones. He knew this was the last present the Phoenix was giving him. The feeling it gave him was like a warm hug from his mother. Then, intense, burning pain in his muscles followed, but Yeon-woo didn’t make a sound. He knew from studying Inner Cultivation that energy would leave his body if he opened his mouth, and he didn’t want to waste a single bit of the Phoenix’s gift. He held on even though he was beginning to grow dizzy.
[‘Heaven Wing Mana Control’ skill proficiency is increasing. 27%, 28%, 29%...33%...]
[‘Flame Infusion’ skill proficiency is dramatically increasing. 57%, 58%...71%, 72%…91%]
The flames dug into circuits he hadn’t even found before, burning away all obstacles and creating a new path. His body shook with occasional explosions.
[The remaining center circuits 3 and 5 are opening.]
[The remaining large circuits...]
Status messages popped up continuously. The breaking up of the circuits should have destroyed his body, but because holy power was involved, his body healed faster than ever. Crash! At that moment, Yeon-woo felt something different despite the pain: joy. His tier was increasing.
[All magic circuits have been opened.]
[The succession process is finished.]
[The title ‘Phoenix’s Successor’ has been earned.]
[Your strength has increased by 5 points.]
[Your dexterity has increased by 5 points.]
[Affinity towards fire element has increased by 30. You have acquired a part of the qualification of fire element.]
[Congratulations! ‘Flame Infusion’ has reached 100%, and a superior skill ‘Heat Wave’ has been unlocked.]
[Your title is being applied to ‘Heat Wave’, and it is being replaced with another skill. The qualification of the fire element is being applied and the skill is evolving to a superior skill.]
[The skill ‘Holy Fire (Number 50)’ has been created.]Previous Chapter Next Chapter