“H-here you go.” Bister’s hand shook as he put the coffee cup on the table. He was an outstanding player who’d made the struggling Night Watch into one of the strongest clans outside of the Tower, but it took him a lot of courage to see Yeon-woo.
He’d put his own subordinates on edge while waiting for Yeon-woo to arrive because he didn’t want to make any mistakes. He was grateful that they said they hadn’t even looked at the direction of Henova’s smithy, much less messed with it. That was how much Yeon-woo had terrified them.
However, there was still a chance that they were in trouble for something else, so Bister didn’t lift his eyes until Yeon-woo quietly raised the cup to his lips. Since Yeon-woo had grown stronger, Bister didn’t even entertain any thoughts of rebelling. Yeon-woo had been scary enough the first time they’d clashed, and Bister had heard about his accomplishments in the Tower since then. He wasn’t someone they could offend at all.
Yeon-woo lightly sipped his coffee as he looked around. It had changed a lot from when he had come and made a huge mess. “It looks different here.”
“T-thanks to you, we were able to i-improve.”
He even thanked Yeon-woo, who smirked at Bister uttering words he didn’t mean. However, his smile was even more terrifying to Bister. Yeon-woo quietly placed his cup back on the table and put his chin on his hand as he looked at Bister. Bister instinctively straightened his back. “Since we’ll get tired if our meeting goes on too long, I’ll just get straight to the point.”
“G-go ahead.” Bister nodded with a nervous expression.
“I’m looking for someone.”
“B-Brahm? Are you speaking about the Exile?”
Brahm was originally a member of the Elohim clan. Because he was kicked out for unknown reasons, the word “exile” followed him around wherever he went. However, Brahm actually liked it. He grew more interesting the more I got to know him.
Of the Eight Clans, the Elohim are the choosiest about new members. They only care about one thing: your species. They look at your blood, if you're pure or mixed, and assigned ranks based on a hierarchy. They believe that certain bloodlines were more superior than others.
Half-demon species, fallen angels, Vanir, Protogenoi, and a few others are considered Superior species, and Draconic species and Giant species were in the Supernatural category.
Since the Elohim had an established hierarchy from the beginning of the Tower, they looked down on players who struggled to climb the Tower. They considered themselves among the upper class of the Tower, and some people said that Brahm, who was one of the Superior species, had once occupied a high position within the Elohim.
However, Brahm only laughed at his origins and said they were useless. Instead, he wore the label “exile” as a badge of honor. He was a free spirit and hated being tied down, and with his personality, he drew attention everywhere he went.
“Four days. Please give me four days. I’ll contact you.” Bister wisely didn’t ask why Yeon-woo was searching for Brahm. He was smart enough to know how to act if he wanted to enjoy a long life.
“Fine. Contact me through this as soon as you find him.” Yeon-woo pulled out an artifact that looked like a ring from Intrenian and tossed it to Bister.
There were plenty of gold, silver, and useful artifacts inside Intrenian, and this ring was a communication device that allowed people to speak with each other regardless of the distance. It was an expensive device that was difficult to acquire, but since it didn’t belong to Yeon-woo in the first place, he had no qualms about giving it away after removing all traces of Red Dragon from it. “And this is my payment.” Yeon-woo placed a pouch on the tablet that made a heavy clunking sound.
Bister carefully opened the pouch and practically jumped in surprise to see the gold and silver pieces inside. With the ring and the pouch, he started to see Yeon-woo in a new light. It wouldn’t be too hard to find Brahm, and he'd only asked for four days just in case something went wrong. However, it really wouldn’t take more than a day to find Brahm’s location. “Y-you don’t need to...”
“Just take it. That’s how fast I want you to find him. And it will be nice if you protect Henova in the future, as well.”
“Thank you. I’ll use it well.” Bister bowed, making rapid calculations in his mind. Although Yeon-woo was like the grim reaper to them, he was a skilled player who would only become more famous as time passed. Bister decided that it would be better to forget the past and establish a business relationship with Yeon-woo to help the clan grow.
In fact, that was the reason Yeon-woo had shown off his wealth. He wanted to continue making these kinds of transactions in the future, and he knew that Bister understood his meaning. He stood up slowly, certain that he didn’t have to tell Bister to keep quiet about the search for Brahm. ‘Now, until the swords are done and they find Brahm, I can focus on climbing floors.’
Yeon-woo turned to look outside the window at the imposing Tower.
[This is the 16th floor, the gate of Life’s Spinning Wheel.]
Yeon-woo swept his hair back at the familiar sight, feeling gazes on him. ‘Should I have finished the trial while I was here last?’ As soon as he’d arrived, he felt the owners of the gazes rushing away, likely heading back to where they worked. Yeon-woo already made a mess out of Skuld’s temple. It was obvious the Apostles and the priests would be nervous to see him here again.
He didn’t regret it, but it was a bit annoying. When he’d taken Hanbin, he’d quickly left, worried that he might be tracked down by the Cheonghwado. He was concerned that it would be difficult to finish the trial when he realized how many people were wary of him.
However, it didn’t really make a difference, and Yeon-woo organized his thoughts, heading down the third path to the temple of Skuld. He didn’t have any other reason for picking that temple other than that the rules specified that once you picked a path, you couldn’t go anywhere else.
However, a problem quickly appeared.
[You cannot head to the temple of the future, Skuld. The owner of the temple denies your entrance.]
‘Do I have to force my way there?’ If obstacles like this continued to appear, he wouldn’t be able to finish the trial. He moved his hand to Vigrid, ready to fight his way through, but a voice spoke behind him. “This is the holy territory of a god. Please refrain from violence.” He turned around to see someone in a pure-white hooded robe politely bowing to him. It was hard to see the person’s face under the hood, but the voice was a woman’s. Yeon-woo noticed a golden wheel on the robe—it represented the goddess of the past, Urd.
“I have been a little delayed in greeting you. I am an Apostle of the goddess Urd, Hepburn.”
Yeon-woo’s eyes flashed behind his mask at Urd’s name. He suddenly remembered the message that Laplace had delivered on behalf of a demon: “Of the Platform Three Goddesses, beware of the eldest.” Yeon-woo didn’t know who the demon was—and frankly, he didn’t care to find out—but there was something significant about the fact that Urd had sent her Apostle. Apostles were proxies for the gods, who couldn’t leave the ninety-eighth floor. Speaking to an Apostle was like speaking with the god they served. Fortunately, Hepburn didn’t seem to bear any ill will towards Yeon-woo, although he supposed she wouldn’t be able to do anything about it if she did.
An Apostle’s power depended on the god they served, and since she was Urd’s Apostle, she was probably relatively weak despite being a ranker. Yeon-woo thought that he was a match for rankers by now, unless they were high rankers. It was clear Hepburn knew this as well, and her attitude continued to be very respectful.
“Why is Urd’s Apostle all the way here?” He still didn’t think that it was a good thing for her to show up.
Hepburn spoke in a calm voice. “The goddess wants to meet you.”
“Is she trying to hurt me?”
“Don’t you know by now that we don’t have the power to do that? The goddess simply wants to meet you. If you don’t believe me, I’ll swear on the goddess’ name.”
To do so meant that they would accept any consequences if they broke their promise, and the greater the god was, the worse the consequences were. Yeon-woo couldn’t guess what Urd and Hepburn were thinking, however, it seemed like he didn’t have a choice. The path to Verdandi’s temple was probably blocked as well, and if he wanted to finish the trial, he’d have to go to Urd’s temple. He felt a surge of annoyance. He didn’t like being pushed around by anyone, even if it was a god. And since he had no idea what their intentions were, he might be manipulated into doing something.
In the world of the Tower, you got chewed up as soon as you blinked. Going somewhere with so much uncertainty felt like suicide, even though Yeon-woo had to admit that he’d provoked them first. Still, he thought that his actions had been justified.
He inserted magic power into his Black Bracelet. Hepburn’s shadow shifted and rose. She tried to withdraw quickly but a crescent-shaped scythe was already at her neck. The hood fell back, revealing a face with alabaster skin. Golden hair fell like a waterfall behind her pointy ears, and her face was beautiful despite its scowl.
“High Elf?” Yeon-woo’s eyes widened in surprise.
Golden hair meant that she was descended from the goddess of beauty, Freya. High Elves were often targets of Elves and Dark Elves, and in addition to the fact that they had a difficult time bearing children, their population was rapidly diminishing. It was difficult to find them in the Tower, and the ones who remained were at least a thousand years old. However, he wasn’t about to remove the shadow scythe under Hepburn’s chin. She was still Urd’s Apostle. If she died, it would affect Urd since Apostles were part of a god. And if a High Elf, who was a member of the Superior species, died, the god’s level would quickly fall. This made Hepburn a valuable hostage.
He could feel the spirits that always followed High Elves clashing around him, but his Guai didn’t move.
Hepburn frowned as if she didn’t like Yeon-woo’s attitude. “What are you doing?”
“Even if you swear on the goddess’s name, I can’t trust you. When this is over, I’ll let you go. If you’re not going to try to hurt me, nothing will happen to you.”
Hepburn frowned even more, then her face smoothed out and she turned away as though nothing had happened. “I’ll take you to the goddess. Please follow me.” With those words, she disappeared, taking the Guai in her shadow with her.
Was she forcing him to figure out the way himself? Her petty revenge made Yeon-woo laugh, and he used Shunpo in the spot where Hepburn disappeared.Previous Chapter Next Chapter