Chapter 135 - Hatch (1)

The Summer Queen was being blocked by the Cheonghwado, Red Dragon was trying to chase after the Sword God, and the Bow God was trying to escape. In the middle of the chaos, the Foreign Legion was feeling like they were in real danger.

The Summer Queen’s unfocused rage was injuring everyone around her. A dragon that had lost its mind was terrifying, and except for a few mercenaries who wanted to stay until the very end to get a reward, most had already left the battlefield, including Phante and Edora.

***

“Hyung-nim, is it really OK to do this?” Phante scratched his face as he looked at the battlefield from far away. He’d only left because of Yeon-woo’s orders, and he felt uncomfortable. Although he liked to run around without caring for any consequences, he knew how important contracts were, especially ones that had binding proclamations. It was a magical contract that meant those who broke the terms would suffer greatly.  

Fortunately, Yeon-woo wasn’t tied to a binding proclamation with Red Dragon because the information he had brought them was too valuable. They also felt uncomfortable with the fact that Phante and Edora were the Martial King’s children. In the end, they only had a light binding, although it might be a problem if Red Dragon chose to strictly interpret the terms.  

However, Yeon-woo shook his head as if saying they shouldn’t worry. “No, there’s no need to be concerned. Red Dragon will be grateful that you guys just left it at this.”

Phante’s eyes widened. “What do you mean?”

“The One-horned tribe didn’t appear.”

“Hm?” Phante cocked his head to one side like he still didn’t understand. But Yeon-woo no longer bothered to answer, as though he found it annoying, and silently climbed down the hill. Edora sighed and explained further. “Why do you think our tribe didn’t show up during the battle?”

“Because the portal suddenly appea—hm? Now that I think about it, they should’ve been contacted?” Phante tilted his head as though something strange was going on. As far as he knew, his tribe liked adding more pandemonium to chaotic situations, especially the Martial King.

Also, even though there was quite a distance between the Cheonghwado’s base and Kuram, they could request support right away with a teleport scroll. However, the One-horned tribe didn’t show up at all even when the Cheonghwado experienced an internal rebellion.

“I’m not sure, but Father probably thought there wasn’t any point to continuing the alliance. Red Dragon could’ve sent one of their people to the tribe too.”

Phante’s eyebrow twitched. “To ask them not to interfere?”

“I don’t know what the specifics are, but they probably wouldn’t have said it that directly. Red Dragon can’t take our tribe too lightly, and it’s more likely that they said something like ‘Please make a judgment according to how the situation pans out’ or something like that. After all, once Father’s pride is ruffled, everything ends up in ruins.”

“Ah. I guess that could’ve happened.”

Even though the One-horned tribe took control of Kuram, the lofty Red Dragon treated them with kid gloves. It was possible that influenced the outcome of the battle. Edora was absolutely sure of it. “Red Dragon will be glad that we left on our own accord since that means they don’t have to worry about offending the tribe.”

The war with the Cheonghwado was now close to being over, and since Red Dragon likely wanted to take time to recuperate, it was in their best interests to avoid the tribe. Besides, Bahal, who had been the point person for Yeon-woo and the two siblings, was already dead. However, even though those words were at the tip of her tongue, Edora didn’t say anything. It was also clear to her eyes that the Summer Queen’s Dragon Heart was in a critical condition and might shatter at any moment.

“Ugh, politics. It’s so, so hard. Why is it so complicated? Everyone should just live simple lives. Whew.” Phante rubbed his temples as though he were getting a migraine.

Edora grinned as she looked at her brother. “You don’t have to make it so complicated. In the end, politics only involves one thing. If you become king, you only have to make sure you have it.”

“Mm? What’s that?” Phante looked at his little sister curiously.

Edora nodded firmly, her eyes following Yeon-woo, who had walked all the way down the hill. “Power.” Her voice was determined. “You can do anything if you have power. Anything.”

***

Yeon-woo and the siblings headed straight back to Kuram without making any detours. They found the One-horned tribe already getting ready to leave.

“Oh, you’re back, son? Daughter?” The Martial King carelessly raised his hand as he looked at Phante and Edora. The other tribe members greeted them and began to bustle around again.

Yeon-woo, who had been standing blankly next to the siblings, asked with a cocked head. “You’re not accepting my greeting?”

The Martial King crossed his arms and snorted. “Nope. Why would I need greetings from a guy that lives however he likes? Did you make a good mess?”

Yeon-woo nodded impassively. “Yes. Thanks to you.”

The Martial King looked Yeon-woo up and down with a dissatisfied expression. He met Yeon-woo’s eyes and smirked. “Hm? Did you stuff yourself with something good again? How come you’re always so different whenever you return? Your physique seems to have changed, too. You even smell different.”

Phante’s expression looked as though he were asking “Again?”, while Edora nodded after looking at Yeon-woo with her Insight.

Yeon-woo clucked his tongue to himself. He had hidden it as well as he could, covering up his dragon scales and toning down his draconic attribute, but, as usual, the Martial King didn’t miss anything. “I’ll explain to you later.”

“Sure, whatever. But if you have something good, you should share and not hog it all to yourself.”

Yeon-woo scratched his face with his thumb. Although his expression was hidden behind his mask, the Martial King’s scolding felt strange to him. To be honest, Yeon-woo felt a bit embarrassed standing in front of the Martial King like nothing had happened. The scolding he received from the Martial King before he’d left the tribe was still clear in his head. It was a little—maybe even a lot—embarrassing. It was similar to what he’d felt around Henova and the Phoenix, as though he had a place to come back to, like a home.

The Martial King waved his hand for them to leave like he didn’t want to scold them any longer. However, as Yeon-woo turned to leave, the Martial King said, “But—"

Yeon-woo paused and turned towards the Martial King, who continued, “Did the things you were doing end well?”

Yeon-woo stood silently for a second. It was a strange question, as though he were asking about something other than avenging the Phoenix. Yeon-woo bowed his head. “Thanks to you.”

“Really? That’s good.” The Martial King no longer asked any questions and returned to what he was doing. Yeon-woo stared at the Martial King for a moment, then quietly left.

***

The One-horned tribe headed back outside the Tower, and as he followed behind them, Yeon-woo learned what had happened. It was just as he and Edora had suspected: both Red Dragon and the Cheonghwado had come to the eleventh floor. Red Dragon came to ask the tribe to ask them to reconsider joining the battle if the gap between victory and loss was too wide. As for the Cheonghwado, they came to ask for a continuation of the alliance, pleading for help in consideration of the relationship between the Martial King, the Sword God, and the Spear God. Apparently, the Martial King just said one word: “Nope.”

He judged that the Cheonghwado had lost the qualification to stand next to the One-horned tribe in the war. Also, he had only helped them previously because the Spear God had pledged to give up his horn.

He didn’t see the need to continue supporting the Cheonghwado, who were steadily losing. In addition, the Sword God had indeed been his disciple, but it had been long since they cut ties, and he didn’t have any reason to help the Spear God because he was no longer a member of the tribe. Yeon-woo shook his head at the Martial King’s response. He wasn’t surprised by the Martial King’s reaction, only thinking that he was dispassionate and had the ability to pitilessly separate his work from his personal life. Yeon-woo saw a new side to the Martial King, and he thought it might be the reason for the One-horned tribe’s success.

He also reflected that he might be receiving the Martial King’s favor right now, but no one knew what would happen if their relationship was ruined. When he thought of how he’d almost cut ties with the Martial King, he realized how lucky he’d been. The Martial King had cut him a lot of slack. ‘I can’t expect any more of that.’ The Martial King could kick Yeon-woo to the curb without any hesitation if he posed a threat to the tribe.

Yeon-woo also learned about the current situation of the Cheonghwado and Red Dragon. The Spear God and the Sword God had successfully escaped, but Red Dragon had formed different teams to hunt them down since they were gravely injured. Some high rankers of Red Dragon were also targeting the island where the Cheonghwado’s headquarters were. ‘It’s because of the stone. They want to look in every nook and cranny of the Cheonghwado for it. However, they won’t find anything.’ It was clear that Red Dragon would be busy looking for the stone for a while.

The Spear God and the Sword God had completely disappeared, as though they weren’t in the Tower anymore. It was the same for the surviving Cheonghwado players. They had spread out to other clans or gone into hiding on their own. Some dreamed of starting a rebellion for the Cheonghwado, but that was quickly smashed by Red Dragon. Nowadays, even saying “Cheonghwado” was strictly forbidden.

The most loyal players decided to wait for the Martial Gods’ return. But Red Dragon didn’t let them hide for long. They hunted them down to uncover the location of the two Martial Gods and immediately killed those who said they didn’t know. The massacre of the Cheonghwado continued since there was only one thing that Red Dragon wanted: their total annihilation.

With the sudden collapse of one of the Eight Clans, cracks started to appear all over the Tower. Other large clans extended their hands to take over the Cheonghwado’s authority. A lot of medium-sized clans spread their wings to try to become the next Cheonghwado.

The confrontation between Red Dragon and the Cheonghwado caused great confusion. Yeon-woo looked at the changes in the Tower and once again prepared for what he needed to do. ‘I have to get used to the Dragon Body again, and I have to organize the powers of the dragon that I received.’

After fighting Bahal, he’d learned that he still had a long way to go. The potential of the Dragon Body was unknown because he didn’t fully understand how to use it yet. He needed to fix that, and get accustomed to using the powers. Aside from this, he had many other concerns: his egg hadn’t hatched yet, he had to complete the Abyss Turtle’s quest, he had to question Bahal and Leonte and investigate them, he needed to train his Eight Extreme Fists, and he needed to continue climbing the floors.

These were all difficult tasks, so Yeon-woo took time to arrange them in order of priority as he sat in the guest room of the One-horned tribe. Finally, he made his decision. ‘First, I need to hatch the egg.’

However, he needed the Seed of the Moon from the One-horned tribe to do so, and that option was gone since he’d rejected the Martial King’s quest. Of course, there was still a way. ‘Blessing of the Four Legendary Beasts.’ Yeon-woo spread his hands out with a flare of light. Four different energies combined together over his hands: Holy Fire, Void, Abyss, and White Earth. It was a substance created from the Beasts’ powers. With this, couldn’t he succeed in hatching the egg?

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