Chapter 118 - Mercenary (2)

Yeon-woo held the Skill Tomes tightly as he went outside. Edora was waiting for him, and her face brightened when she saw him. However, she quickly frowned when she saw his face. “Oraboni, what happened to your head?”

“Hm?” He touched his head reflexively and grinned when he felt the slight bump. “It’s nothing, don’t worry about it.” Yeon-woo sidestepped her question and looked at her. “What’s your decision? It hasn’t changed?”

“I’m going to follow you. Don’t try to stop me.”

Yeon-woo suspected that he wouldn’t be able to stop her anyway. It was just like her not to listen to anyone, and besides, she was a member of the One-horned tribe. No one could prevent them from doing something once they put their minds to it. But he still wanted to confirm it one last time. “What if you meet your tribe as an enemy?”

“I’m prepared for that. I’ll only suffer because of a certain someone.”

Yeon-woo shook his head. “All right. If you’re not going to listen to me anyway, do whatever you want.”

“Hehe.” Edora smiled like she had won, and Yeon-woo couldn’t help laughing.

***

Yeon-woo wanted to leave Kuram quietly. There was no point in making a big fuss about switching sides, and he didn’t want to get on the Saber God’s bad side either. And so, when they were about to pass the ruined walls, he didn’t expect to see Phante standing there with an irritated expression, his arms crossed over his chest. “You?”

“Wow. Are you happy about leaving your little brother behind? Is this something like a night escape? Oh, since it’s still day, it’s a daytime getaway, I guess.”

Phante glared at Edora, who was stuck to Yeon-woo’s side like a leech. He was annoyed that no one had told him anything. Edora looked away. “Why? Are you going to come with me?”

“Do you think I’m standing here to get a tan?”

“Do you even know where I’m going?”

“I know it’ll be more fun than here. And, hehe, wherever you go, something big always happens, eh?”

Yeon-woo couldn’t find the words to respond. It was true that big incidents followed him, after all.

“I don’t like staying here anymore. The old geezers keep on ordering me to do this and that, and they keep poking their noses in my business. I feel like I’m going crazy. Anywhere else is fine, so take me with you.”

Yeon-woo laughed. He understood Phante’s annoyance. He was always being dragged from one conference to another, and he wasn’t allowed to fight because it was deemed too dangerous. Whenever he tried to protest, the Martial King was always there. When he discovered that Edora and Yeon-woo were planning to leave Kuram, he thought it was his chance.

However, Phante and Edora were in different situations. Since Phante was most likely going to be the next king, he couldn’t just leave, and so Yeon-woo hinted that they would be going to Red Dragon.

However, that only made Phante smile. “Huh? So you were planning on having some fun without even telling me all this time?”

Yeon-woo realized his mistake too late. Phante was the Martial King’s son to the bone.

“Haha! I thought I was going to barf from seeing those Cheonghwado bastards all the time. Now I can see them crumble.”

Yeon-woo had to wave a white flag to the siblings and sighed in exasperation. “Do whatever you want.” However, he couldn’t help a smile growing on his face. He suddenly thought that he’d managed to not only meet a good teacher but also find a good pair of little siblings.

***

After leaving Kuram, they headed to the northern part of the stage called Veges.

“Currently, Red Dragon has set up a stronghold at Veges. They’re planning on expanding their territory, and so the Cheonghwado is attacking them there.” Edora shared what she had heard at the tribe’s conference. With the aid of the One-horned tribe, the Cheonghwado’s forces were spread almost evenly across the eleventh stage except for Veges.

“Is there a reason why?”

“Because Bahal is leading them.”

Yeon-woo’s eyes gleamed. “Bahal?”

“Yes. They say he’s been put in charge of the eleventh floor, and other rankers are participating too. Since the One-horned tribe has joined the war, they’re a lot more cautious.”

Yeon-woo nodded. If Red Dragon didn’t intend on giving up the eleventh floor, they had no choice but to send more forces. Their loss had probably injured their pride a lot since they lived by the rule of the Dragon. ‘Also, not only does the Cheonghwado have the Martial King, they also have the Saber God and the Spear God. They won’t stay still. Seems like the war on the eleventh floor is going to get bigger.’

Yeon-woo figured that it was just as well. With the stakes rising, the Saber God and the Spear God would be stuck on this floor. ‘It would be nice if Leonte showed up too.’ Yeon-woo wet his dry lips as a predator’s smile appeared on his face.

Phante tried to change the subject. “How are you planning on joining Red Dragon? They’re probably grinding their teeth at the thought of you.” He was referring to Yeon-woo’s fight with Shanon. There was no way Red Dragon wasn’t wary of Yeon-woo.

“If we’re talking about risk, you guys are probably in greater danger than I am.”

There weren’t better hostages than the prince and princess of the One-horned tribe. If Red Dragon knew they were coming, they would even welcome them with open arms.

“Actually, they’re probably not going to care too much about us since there’s a bunch of people like us.”

Yeon-woo cocked his head to one side in confusion, and Edora responded with a smile. “As you’ve noticed, our tribe members are quite self-centered, right? A bunch of us have probably joined their side as mercenaries.”

“Oh.” Yeon-woo realized what she meant. There were a lot of tribe members climbing the Tower who frequently did mercenary work as well. “So, what if you come face to face...”

“I guess we’ll have to kill each other. I mean, of course, we’d prefer to avoid that as much as possible.” Edora shrugged her shoulders like it wasn’t a big deal. “But even if we meet as enemies, we won’t hate each other. We’ll be more offended if we don’t fight using our full strength.”

Yeon-woo nodded. One couldn’t expect anything less from the One-horned tribe. Phante and Edora didn’t place too much significance on fighting Red Dragon either.

“Well, they might be interested since we’re the Martial King’s children. But they won’t care since everyone knows our father’s personality.” Phante shrugged. The Martial King wouldn’t be too upset if his children were taken hostage.

‘He’d just try to send back double the harm done to his children.’ Yeon-woo laughed thinking of the Martial King.

“Anyway. How are you going to join forces with Red Dragon?”

Yeon-woo answered indifferently, “Didn’t you guys already say the answer?”

“What did we say?”

“You must be speaking about Bahal.”

Yeon-woo nodded at Edora’s words. “Right. Bahal will welcome me, and the pressure will protect me as well.”

Phante and Edora nodded. Yeon-woo’s words made sense since Bahal seemed extremely interested in him.

‘Fighting with the One-horned tribe has given me some credibility. They won’t want to let someone who’s defeated a semi-ranker slip through their fingers.’ Yeon-woo knew his name had already spread far and wide. Setting records for clearing floors or the Tutorial sparked interest in someone’s potential, but it was hard to tell if that person could actually fight. However, a novice who’d managed to defeat a semi-ranker was a different story altogether.

Not only could they help with the war effort, they could also be nurtured into a skilled player. And considering that he had inside information on the tribe and the Cheonghwado, they wouldn’t let him go, especially if Bahal supported him. ‘And if I give them this.’ Yeon-woo touched the object that Bahal would kill to have. He was certain that it would kindle the embers of war into a roaring fire—and he was right.

***

“Stop there. Reveal your identity.” When they arrived at Veges, the players of Red Dragon came out to stop them, their faces tense at the sight of two One-horned tribe members. They suspected that the tribe had finally left Kuram.

However, Yeon-woo explained that he was the Hoarder, and the two One-horned tribe members with him were interested in working as mercenaries for Red Dragon. “And please give Bahal this. He’ll like it since it’s from me.”

The players were surprised to see the notorious Hoarder in person—although a few couldn’t help glaring at him for killing their friends—not to mention that the One-horned tribe members with him were the children of the Martial King. But in the end, they decided that it wasn’t their responsibility to deal with this and they let the three in. They inspected Yeon-woo’s item and delivered it to Bahal after determining that it wasn’t dangerous.

Soon, a reply came. “Bahal has ordered that the three of you will be our distinguished guests. Please follow me.”

Yeon-woo and his friends nodded and followed the players.

***

Veges had a different atmosphere from Kuram. Red Dragon rankers and their subordinates bustled around everywhere, and there were many security checks. Although it was very orderly, there was a forbidding atmosphere. The eyes of many players glittered at the sight of Yeon-woo and his friends, but they didn’t say a word. It was clear how disciplined the city was.

When they reached the center of the city, Bahal came out to meet them barefooted. “Haha! Who’s this? Is this Cain? Do you know how long I’ve been waiting for you to come to us?” He hugged Yeon-woo tightly as though he were welcoming back a beloved subordinate. He was genuinely happy to see Yeon-woo. However, Yeon-woo’s fists were tightly clenched as Bahal embraced him. ‘If only you treated Jeong-woo this well.’ The veins on the back of his hands popped out.

Previous Chapter Next Chapter