Chapter 186 - Demons' Forest (1)

Allforone’s shadow was gone? It didn’t seem impossible since the Martial King’s simulation was sentient. However, the disappearance of Allforone’s simulation meant that a section of the twenty-first floor had irrevocably changed.

Since gods and demons couldn’t even leave the ninety-eighth floor because of the system, this was something that shouldn’t have happened. However, Allforone’s shadow was truly gone, and there was only a blue portal leading to the next floor.  

‘What am I supposed to do?’ Yeon-woo thought for a moment then shook his head. It didn’t seem like something he should be concerned about anyway. If Allforone wasn’t here, first place would be his by default.

[You have set a record on this floor. Will you register your name in the Hall of Fame?]

[You have refused to register your name.]

[Your record has been deeply engraved in the Tower. You can register your name whenever you wish.]

[21st-Floor Ranking]
[Tied 1. Unrevealed and Bivasbat
2. Nayu
3. Hughl
4. Cah Jeong-woo]

....

Although he hadn’t been able to see Allforone’s shadow, this was a pretty good result. He wondered what kind of expression the Martial King would have when he heard the results.

Yeon-woo rejected all the messages that popped up as he always did. It was better to compile rewards and get them in one go at a later time. Just as he was about to activate the portal, his communication ring suddenly rang. It was the Night Watch from the Outer District of the Tower. ‘I wonder what’s going on?’

Uh…um, I think you have to hurry.

Why?

They say that no one’s seen Brahm on the twenty-third floor for a few days already.

Yeon-woo’s eyes grew wider, and he quickly activated the portal. He had been too complacent because he thought Brahm would stay on the twenty-third floor for a while. The portal opened, and Yeon-woo was swallowed up by light. 

***

The news of the changes in the rankings of the twenty-first floor spread quickly to the rest of the Tower, and the rankers who had ignored the lower floors began to pay attention now. The records in the Hall of Fame hadn’t changed in a while, and even the Martial King hadn’t been able to take first place.

Even though it was a tie, it still meant that Yeon-woo had achieved the same score as Allforone. Because of this, the Hoarder began to gain fame among the high rankers and large clans. Some of them began to wonder why he’d never revealed his name ever since he started the Tutorial. Although most people didn’t give it too much thought, the question of the Hoarder’s identity became a matter of interest to some.  

***

“So what…” Henova was about to talk to the person who had entered the smithy, but he paused after seeing the message that appeared in front of his eyes. 

[A new record has been set in the 21st floor’s Hall of Fame. Would you like to check?]

Yeon-woo had gone to the twenty-first floor this morning, and after sending him away, Henova had set his notifications to alert him if the rankings changed. However, he didn’t think he’d hear anything for at least a few days—maybe even a few years.

He was confused when the message popped up, and worried that something had gone wrong, he quickly flicked the window open, already forgetting about the stranger who’d entered the smithy. At the top of the rankings was an unrevealed name.  

“Tied in first place?” Was that even possible? And not only that, it was a tie with Allforone. Henova couldn’t help smiling warmly after he got over his surprise. It had been worth making those artifacts for Yeon-woo. At the very least, Yeon-woo hadn’t let his reputation down. “Hm. He still has a brain.”

Henova smiled and put his hammer down. He grabbed his pipe and put it in his mouth. As he inhaled, he thought that if he were a player, he would have also gone to the twenty-first floor to see a face that he missed. Although it was only a shadow, he thought it would be nice to visit him.

Since Yeon-woo had gone to the twenty-first floor armed with Henova’s artifact, it almost felt as though Henova had gone himself. He savored the thought of seeing the face that Yeon-woo had likely seen. What kind of expression did the shadow have? Was it laughing or expressionless like the other shadows? In fact, what kind of expression did that shadow’s true self have when he cleared the twenty-first floor? He’d probably been smiling like a fool. Did he use the Dragon Slayer that Henova made or lightning?

The old memories began to resurface. Before, it hurt him too much to think of them, but now it felt as though he could begin opening them again one by one. ‘Mm, wasn’t there a customer here? And I heard that someone from the One-horned tribe was coming to visit.’

Henova turned to look at the door, but there wasn’t anyone there. 

*** 

Jang Wei felt strange seeing Henova smile. When he had made his investigations, he’d heard that Henova’s skills had become rusty after Arthia’s fall, but he could see for himself that the rumors were false. Perhaps they’d only spread because Henova had lost his motivation.

However, Henova seemed to have found his fire again, even though his disciple Bahal was dead. Even though they’d cut ties, a former disciple still had some significance. ‘Something’s definitely up.’ Jang Wei had been planning on messing Henova up, and he’d been prepared to even kidnap and torture him.  

But before he could make a move, the door had suddenly opened to reveal a guy with a horn, likely from the One-horned tribe. He was carrying some strange contraptions. Jang Wei didn’t want to cause a commotion in front of a member of the One-horned tribe and decided to get his hands on Henova some other time.  

However, the One-horned tribe member seemed to find him suspicious and was following Jang Wei discreetly. However, he wasn’t discreet enough, and Jang Wei spotted him. He took some turns in the alleys of the Outer District.

“I don’t know why that guy from the One-horned tribe is following me.” Jang Wei looked down the dark alleyway and deliberately spoke in a loud voice. Someone silently appeared. He had a pleasant face, but it could look intimidating if he wanted. It was Yanu, one of the potential successors to the Psychic Medium.

He’d come all the way to the smithy because of a deal that Henova had with the One-horned tribe. “I don’t have as much power as Miss Edora, but I can sense that you’re dangerous. Who are you?” Yanu said something that Jang Wei couldn’t understand and clenched his fist. He didn’t even bother hiding his murderous intent. Although he was always smiling in front of Yeon-woo and the siblings, he was famous among the warriors for his skills.  

Yanu had gotten a clear impression that Jang Wei was planning to harm Henova and he wanted to know what was going on.  

Jang Wei clucked his tongue. Even the Summer Queen didn’t want to be involved with the One-horned tribe, much less him. Although he wouldn’t mind talking, the guy’s murderous intent was so strong that there was nothing he could do. 

Besides, he wasn’t really very good at talking, and since the easier option presented himself, why not take it? In fact, the reason Jang Wei avoided the tribe was not because he was scared of them but because they could become very annoying. However, he had already stopped caring about the One-horned tribe potentially getting revenge, and so he pulled out an arrow from his back.

The silver lining was that he now had another person to interrogate. Although Yanu didn’t have anything to do with Arthia, who knew what information he could provide? Jang Wei moved towards Yanu. His Four Directions Bow was ready for action. 

***

“Hehe. This is fucked up…” Blood poured from Yanu’s mouth. He tried to get up, but he kept falling back because of the arrow in his chest. 

Jang Wei looked down at Yanu coldly. It hadn’t been an even match from the start. It was obvious what the results of a fight between a high ranker and a semi-ranker would be. Still, Jang Wei had been privately shocked at how difficult it had been to deal with Yanu. The One-horned tribe lived up to their reputation.

“From this point forward, I want you to answer all my questions,” Jang Wei said as he pushed down the arrow in Yanu’s shoulder. 

Yanu smiled despite the pain. “Why should I?”

“I’ll spare your life if you answer me.”

“Hehe. You think I’ll fall for that?”

“I thought it was worth a try.”

“That was amusing to watch.”

Jang Wei clucked his tongue. The guy was powerless to fight back now, but his eyes were still sharp. He recognized that expression—those who had them wouldn’t ever give in, no matter how much you tortured them. “Oh well. I’m not really fond of this method but…”

“Hehe. What? Are you giving up?”

“You wish.” Jang Wei smirked and put a pair of fingers in his mouth while using his other hand to push Yanu down. 

<Summon – Demonic Creatures Call>

Purple smoke started to creep up, and a blue snake with nine heads appeared. The Demonic Snake was one of the many monsters he had caught back when he was still a hero. “Eat.”

The Demonic Snake slid towards Yanu, who didn’t take his eyes off it. The snake entered through Yanu’s mouth and started to eat his brain. Images began to pop up in Jang Wei’s head. 

The snake had the ability to absorb some of the memories of what it ate, and Jang Wei relied on this method to pry information out of those who were too reluctant and stubborn. Although there wasn’t any sound, he discovered many things, such as why the One-horned tribe dropped out of the war and why the Martial King’s children crossed over to Red Dragon. At the center of it all was the Hoarder, Cain.

After Jang Wei finished seeing all the images, he thought for a while. “So he didn’t appear because he was scouted. He had a reason, it seems. He never planned on joining the Cheonghwado from the beginning but he wasn’t really on Red Dragon’s side either, hm?”

Jang Wei felt a strange vibe from Cain. He’d acted like he didn’t really care about participating in Red Dragon. Although he was a mercenary with the One-horned tribe, he seemed to prioritize participating in the war over anything else. 

It was interesting. A lot of things didn’t make sense, but they seemed important. Everything revolved around Cain, and even though Jang Wei had dismissed him at first, it seemed like he had a lot of secrets after all.

“Cain.” Jang Wei mumbled the unfamiliar name several times. He didn’t like the name for some reason, but he was also intrigued. He kept wondering why Cain wanted to participate in the war. Eventually, the snake crawled out of the corpse, which it had completely sucked dry.

Jang Wei extended his arm and the snake wrapped around it like a bracelet. He began to move towards the Tower. He’d heard that Cain was heading to the twenty-third floor. 

“I hope something fun happens.” Jang Wei raised a corner of his lips, feeling a sense of anticipation for the first time ever since he entered the Tower.

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