Chapter 139 - Hatch (5)

Why are you here? You should be dead! I pierced your heart with a sword! Leonte started to mumble in confusion, looking as though he wanted to run away. However, the shadows prevented him from moving.

In contrast, Bahal suddenly stopped resisting, knowing how futile it was. Instead, he stared at Yeon-woo and muttered something to himself as though he’d figured something out.

Y-you look like Jeong-woo but you’re not him! Just who—? Cough! Bahal couldn’t finish his sentence as the Guai tightened around him.

Yeon-woo said coldly, “Don’t get the situation wrong. I’m the one asking questions, not you. The only thing you need to do is answer.”

Don’t make me la—ack! Bahal screamed while trying to resist, but the shadows’ grip grew stronger and a blue fire wrapped around him. As the Holy Fire burned, Bahal shook even harder from the pain. Holy Fire was the opposite of dark properties, and the brighter it burned, the more Bahal felt as though he were being torn in two by hellfire.

However, Leonte didn’t scream. His soul trembled, drowning in fear.

Yeon-woo took back his Holy Fire when he thought that Bahal had calmed down. He asked, “Tell me everything about the stone and about Red Dragon.”

Hahaha, no—ahh!

Seeing that Bahal was about to resist again, Yeon-woo made his Holy Fire flare up again. This time, it was even stronger, and the blue flame turned into a yellow one that ripped Bahal’s soul.

Aahhh! Ahhhh! Even someone with a strong mind would be broken by so much pain. Bodies might be able to go into shock and block off the pain, but souls couldn’t. Bahal had to taste each moment of pain, and it was impossible to get used to it.

By the time Bahal’s energy was practically drained, Yeon-woo gave him dark energy again, and after healing him, tortured him with Holy Fire once more.

Please! Please! I’ll speak, please stop! I said stop! Bahal couldn’t resist any longer and surrendered, not wanting to endure another round.

But Yeon-woo didn’t respond. He quietly burned Holy Fire, took it back, and healed Bahal, repeating the entire cycle. Ahhh! Aaaargh!

Leonte couldn’t meet Yeon-woo’s eyes and tried to turn his head but the shadows prevented him from moving. I…!

Yeon-woo slowly walked towards the trembling Leonte without saying a word. Leonte had planted a sword in his brother’s heart despite being one of the friends that his brother had the most affection for. Yeon-woo didn’t ask why Leonte had made the choice to betray his little brother and cross over to the Cheonghwado. It was obvious that he would probably make an excuse, and Yeon-woo didn’t want to hear it. He only wanted two things: for his brother to be comforted and to get information about the stone. “I hope you know more than Bahal.”

***

“So the stone you made is called ‘Philospher's Stone’?”

Ri…ght…please…kill me!

Yeon-woo sat on top of the ruined Leonte, thinking carefully about the information he’d gotten. ‘To think that the Philosopher's Stone actually exists.’ It was a magical device that any player in the Tower would want. It provided an infinite supply of magic power and made miracles happen. There were so many rumors about the Philosopher's Stone that his brother had even mentioned them in the diary, although his comments were brief.

Philosopher's Stone? If it really exists, Allforone would have already cleared the Tower. It’s nonsense.

Like other high rankers, his brother firmly believed that the stone didn’t exist. No one had actually seen it, and if anyone had, the news would have spread everywhere. Also, the Tower provided trials for the players to overcome. If the stone really existed, this wouldn’t be necessary.

Even if it did exist, it was probably on the ninety-eighth floor where gods and demons lived. It would be impossible to find below the seventy-seventh floor. Also, no one believed that it could be created, even though many people had risked their lives to do so. Alchemists, dark magicians, and many others had tried to make the Philosopher's Stone, or something similar, and Leonte was the one who had come closest to success.

[With additional information, a section of the hidden qualities is being uncovered.]

[???ed Philosopher's Stone]
[Classification: ???]
[Rank: ???]
[Description: The soul is the purest form of energy in the world. This stone was created in the room indicated in the emerald tablet.]
[*???It is not complete. (Sealed)]
[** This is a unique artifact. No other artifact like this exists in the Tower, and it will be bound to its owner. It cannot be transferred or traded between players.
** This is an incomplete artifact. Please complete the artifact in order to view the sealed information and options.]

Although a lot of information about the stone was still hidden, Yeon-woo knew that he’d made some progress. It was hard to catch a fish, but it was easier to handle it once it was in his hands. Once he found his way, the progress would be smoother. ‘And I can borrow part of the Dragon's Knowledge if I need to.’

Yeon-woo narrowed his eyes, finally understanding why Leonte had gone to such lengths to create the stone. However, he still had a few more questions. “How did you discover the process of making the stone? How could someone like you know about it?” He was curious how Leonte had gotten his hands on such priceless information. While some might think it was an object that could be created through trial and error, Yeon-woo disagreed. If that were the case, Red Dragon would have made one already, not to mention alchemy clans and magicians. Leonte didn’t have the skill or talent for alchemy, so how did he know? ‘There’s got to be someone behind this.’

Yeon-woo believed that someone had pushed Leonte into doing it, controlling him behind his back and taking the stone after he was done. ‘Of course, whoever it was, they’re now empty-handed because of me. They must be regretting everything right now.’ Yeon-woo thought that it might be someone he knew.

I…stole…the…Emerald…Tablet…!

“Emerald Tablet? What’s that?” Yeon-woo’s eyes sparkled at the new discovery.

What Vie…had…

“Vieira? Vieira Dune?”

Cor…rect.

Yeon-woo laughed and clucked his tongue. “You were played by a witch.”

Vieira Dune was the witch of stars, the chief of the Walpurgisnacht clan. Although they weren’t part of the Eight Clans, they were still strong. ‘She was a founding member of Arthia, as well as Jeong-woo’s lover.’ The world knew Vieira Dune’s face. She could make a man’s heart beat with her youthful beauty, and at different times, her face was seductive, innocent, or sincere in order to lure people and entrance them. She also had a skill that no one was aware of: manipulating minds.

His brother had realized too late that she had fooled everyone, and the truth only came to light after he was already gone. It seemed like Leonte had been played as well. Considering how much he loved power and pleasure, it would have been extremely easy for Vieira Dune to seduce him, and he might not have even realized what was happening.

Leonte continued to explain that the Emerald Tablet was an ancient document that had instructions for making the Philosopher's Stone. Walpurgisnacht and the Cheonghwado had secretly worked together to attack the dungeon on the sixty-ninth floor, and Leonte had snatched away the item that Vieira Dune was supposed to get, working on the stone behind the Sword God’s back.

“Where is the Emerald Tablet now?”

I…broke…

Yeon-woo lightly clucked his tongue. He would’ve been able to tell with his Draconic Eyes if the Emerald Tablet were authentic or if Vieira had done something to it. “Tell me what was written on the tablet.”

If I tell you…will you kill me?

“You’re already dead. How about I let you disappear?”

Leonte brightened and revealed the process to create the stone. It was a lot simpler than Yeon-woo had expected, but there was a lot of suspicious-sounding information. He prodded Leonte for more information whenever he encountered something he didn’t understand, and organized everything in his head. He activated his Dragon’s Knowledge.

[The Dragon’s Knowledge, Hochma, has opened. It is searching for relevant information in the database.]

[There are 8 results for the Philosopher's Stone.]

[Other related search terms have been provided for a wider range of information.]

The Dragon’s Knowledge was so large that it couldn’t be used all at once, so the ancient dragon Kalatus had divided it into different sections to help a contractor access information according to their progress. It meant that they’d be able to digest information slowly as they continued, like a sponge absorbing water, until they reached the final truth. Only after contractors had attained knowledge from the outside could they view the information, just as the Draconic Eyes had expanded after he received his Dragon Body.

‘It has a foundation of mechanical magic and then alchemy on top. It’s too broad that it’ll take me an entire day to get through all the information.’ Yeon-woo could also tell whether Leonte was lying or not. ‘There’s the slightest bit of falsehood mixed in.’ He didn’t know who added it, but they had managed to interfere with it thoroughly, making him curious. Who had made the Emerald Tablet? And what was Vieira Dune trying to achieve?

Yeon-woo thought Leonte might be lying so he interrogated him with the Holy Fire, his Draconic Eyes wide open, checking each fact over and over to see if it contained any lies. When he was finally satisfied with the information, Leonte’s mind was so destroyed that it was a quivering mess. He could probably recover with dark energy, but Yeon-woo didn’t intend to let him continue suffering. He thought of binding him forcefully like he’d done with Boo and Ka, but then it was pointless having a Spirit Familiar like him.  

“Boo.” There was a fizzing sound, and an ashy fog rose. Lich Boo appeared.

Please tell me…your orders.

“Eat.”

Thank…you.

Boo bowed and opened his mouth, approaching Leonte, who was still tightly bound in shadows.  

W-wait…! You said you would let me disappear…!」 Leonte realized that Boo was planning to completely absorb his soul and steal his knowledge and powers. If that happened, he wouldn’t even be able to dream of reincarnation. However, Yeon-woo just ignored him. He’d never intended to let Leonte off so easily.

Clank! Clank! As the sound of gnashing teeth rose, Leonte’s screams grew louder. Boo’s shadow darkened. Leonte had the ability to become a Martial God in the Cheoghwado, and eating him up would help Boo advance significantly. Boo took small bites to savor everything: the soul, vestige, and knowledge.

Yeon-woo looked at Leonte briefly then turned to look at Bahal, who trembled as he looked at Leonte. The Holy Fire had been slowly destroying him, too, and he only wanted to escape from the pain. “You know what I’m going to ask, right?”

Bahal hurriedly nodded. He was afraid that Yeon-woo might change his mind, so he blurted out everything he knew as fast as he could so that he might disappear in a less painful manner than Leonte.

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