Chapter 187 - Demons' Forest (2)

[The trial of the 22nd floor is beginning.]

[Trial: This port that lies next to the wide ocean has been troubled by the attacks of a Kraken…]

The trial of the twenty-second floor was very simple: catch the Kraken. Since it was a monster around seventy meters long with powerful tentacles and a potent venom, it usually required at least thirty people to attack it simultaneously.  

Boom! The new Kraken that appeared on the shore screamed as it experienced a terrible pain. Kieeeeek! It swung its tentacles around to swat the horrible, insect-like creature in front of it, but the bug raised its sword like it had been waiting and cut its tentacles off. 

Fountains of blood spurted out from its stumps, making the sand wet. The Kraken’s size usually intimidated players, but now it had become its disadvantage because it provided so many targets for attacks.

Yeon-woo soared through the sky with his Fire Wings, swinging Vigrid around. Watching the monster fall from his Wave of Fire made him feel satisfied. The Kraken’s heart popped into the air as its head and body split apart. Its heart was only the size of a human’s head, smaller than Yeon-woo had expected. 

Yeon-woo used magic power to draw the heart to his hand. The Kraken had a lot of magic power and health, and the heart would be good material for something.

[The trial has ended.]

[You have succeeded in killing the Kraken, the Emperor of the Ocean, as a solo player.]

[You have earned 15,000 karma.]

[You have earned an additional 20,000 karma.]

....

[The acquired karma is being added to your total karma.]

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

[You have refused to register your name.]

....

[The god of the sea, Poseidon, is showing interest in you. He is considering an Apostle position for you.]

[An unknown god is expressing refusal.]

[An unknown god is expressing concern.]

[The demons are interested. They are having a deep discussion at someone’s suggestion.]

‘Poseidon?’ After the Olympus’ Treasury, Yeon-woo hadn’t had much contact with Olympus. Sometimes, he saw messages from Hermes or Athena, but it was the first time for him to see a message from a high-level god of Olympus like Poseidon. Perhaps he’d drawn Poseidon’s interest after killing the Kraken, one of the highest-ranking sea monsters?

However, as always, every time a god expressed interest, another group seemed to oppose, while demons kept having discussions. Yeon-woo didn’t really care, but the messages kept popping up. Who were these gods and demons? ‘I guess it doesn’t matter.’ He wasn’t planning on accepting any offers they made, anyway.

Also, he had to hurry to the twenty-third floor. He was worried that Brahm might disappear completely. Yeon-woo slid all the messages down and activated the green portal. 

[This is the 23rd floor, gate of the Demons’ Forest.]

He arrived at a cliff, and the wide sky filled his eyes. It was different from the skies of the other floors that Yeon-woo had seen so far. This particular sky was as red as blood. Yeon-woo looked down and saw a vast, creepy forest. With his Draconic Eyes, he spotted different energies and ghosts. Souls wrapped around the forest like cobwebs, and half-transparent ghosts wandered around.

[The trial of the 23rd floor is beginning.]

[Trial: The ancestors of demons who are powerful enough to threaten gods were born in a desolate land. Without a proper source of light, the sky was permanently red, and there was a drought for hundreds of years.
It appears like a land where no creature can survive, but mysterious beings have evolved to live here. The Devil Tree births babies from the energy of this world.
Survive the attacks of the greedy Devil Trees and their hungry babies. The more Devil Trees and babies you kill, the more advantageous it will be for your survival.]

Just as the Draconic species included beings like Dragonians and wyverns despite being completely different from dragons, the ancestors of the demons on the ninety-ninth floor were nothing like them. Although the demons had all started from this primitive state, after fighting and consuming, they’d grown into Devil Kings and Devil Dukes. Their power was equal to the gods’, and they even managed to cause the extinction of the Draconic species a long time ago.

However, the demons on the twenty-third floor were different.  

They are the fruit of a tree called the Devil Tree and they only live according to their instincts. Their level of intelligence is lower than those of monsters, and the evolved demons hate being compared to them.  

I think the saying ‘A frog can’t remember when it was a tadpole’ best describes the way the demons see this. The things that the demons call the Demonic species are hateful to them. They are only clumps of negative energy that don’t have any intelligence. 

They were organized into types like phantoms or ghosts for convenience, but it wasn’t like they were similar physically. All they cared for was to follow their instincts to eat. They ate anything that they came across, and they didn’t care even if it was the same species.

It was only after a period of eating that something would wake up inside them. They would begin to think and feel, and then once they felt greed, they would begin to desire things like skills, power, or strength. After that, they would become the demons that everyone knew.

Eating whatever came their way was their way of surviving, and it was why the Draconic species, who loved intelligence and logic, looked down on them. However, it was dangerous to be complacent around the Demonic species on the twenty-third floor. 

Yeon-woo thought of what the diary said about the twenty-third floor and remembered the hidden pieces. ‘It’s the purple Devil Flower and the Ceratopsian Dinosaur of De Roy Lake.’

Before the Devil Tree bore fruit, it produced a strongly perfumed Devil Flower. All the flowers were called Devil Flowers for convenience, but their traits and appearances were different. Some had a pleasant fragrance, others were like Venus flytraps that dissolved anything that fell inside them.

The purple Devil Flower was a rare flower that hardly anyone knew about, but it was the flower that would later produce higher-ranking Demonic species because of the powerful demonic energy it contained. 

De Roy Lake was the lake in the center of the Demons’ Forest. Yeon-woo heard it was pretty big, but he couldn’t see it from where he stood. The Ceratopsian Dinosaur living in the lake was as hard to catch as the Kraken, perhaps even harder. However, its Neidan was very useful. 

‘I can make a nice elixir out of the Devil Flower and the Neidan of the Ceratopsian Dinosaur. With it, I can raise the level of my magic power.’ Yeon-woo already had a lot of magic power, but he needed to push it to a higher level.

The Strengthening Item that his brother had learned from Bayluk would probably help. It was also focused on evil or dark properties, which was a bonus. ‘That’s good for me since my inclination is towards evil.’ Yeon-woo slowly organized his thoughts and left the starting zone. His mind was lingering on something: ‘The Philosopher’s Stone.’

The alchemist Brahm had been on the twenty-third floor for a while now for some unknown reason. Although he was a free spirit, he probably had his reasons. ‘The problem is how to find him.’

The Night Watch said that Brahm had suddenly hidden his location, which was why Yeon-woo hadn’t even bothered looking for the hidden pieces on the twenty-second floor and rushed to the twenty-third floor right away. ‘They said a lot of people have been looking for Brahm recently.’

Why would people be looking for someone with no friends and only enemies? It was suspicious. ‘I’ll head over to his house first.’ Yeon-woo moved towards the coordinates that the Night Watch had given him. 

***

Fortunately, the location wasn’t too far from De Roy Lake. The deeper he went in, the more the trees began to obscure the red sky. The air was sour, and health and magic power decreased at a faster rate. People whose powers tilted towards the godly element probably suffered quite a lot on the twenty-third floor. 

However, there were some who enjoyed it.

Wahaha! This place is amazing! Was the twenty-third floor always so great?

It’s just probably because we’ve changed. It does feel quite breezy and refreshing.

Hanryeong and Shanon had left the shadows to look around. Because normal players didn’t head towards the lake, they could roam around freely. Although it was uncomfortable for living beings, they were enjoying the environment. Even the Guai ran around happily. Kyaa! Kyaa! Kruuk! Kruuk! They happily feasted on the Demonic species and ghosts. The predators turned into prey. 

[Boo has consumed Phantom 21. His demonic element has increased by 2 points.]

[Chan has gobbled up Spirit 99. His demonic element has increased by 5 points.]

....

As Yeon-woo walked, the Guai grew stronger. Rebecca looked at them with dissatisfaction, her arms crossed. She was feeling a little uncomfortable since she was a spirit with holy power. However, when they arrived at their destination, their freedom was taken away.

Hmm? What’s this?

This is unfortunate.

Shanon and Hanryeong spoke in annoyed voices as they encountered a holy and pure energy that didn’t fit in with the Demons’ Forest emanating from the lakeshore.  

‘Elohim?’ It was a strength that the Elohim usually emanated. Those who wanted to join them had to have at least this much power. However, Brahm didn’t get along with them, and it was suspicious that they would show up.

Yeon-woo took everyone back into his shadow and climbed up a tall tree to spy at them. There was a small cottage and a field next to the lake. Near it was a blond High Elf with ashy wings and nine other types of Superior species that were rarely seen in the Tower.

One of them stood out most to Yeon-woo, leaving him shocked. ‘What is that guy doing here?’ He had silky red hair and eyes that were completely black all over. His clear skin showed blue blood running in his veins, marking him as one of the Protogenoi.

The Protogenoi had once been gods, but they lost their holiness and fell to the lower floors. Although they occupied high positions in the Elohim, they rarely ventured outside. Yeon-woo recognized this particular Protogenoi, and he found it incredible that he would see him on the twenty-third floor, which the Protogenoi despised. His name was Aether of Light, and he was one of the highest consuls of the Elohim. He had also been a member of Arthia.

I first met Aether not long after I started climbing the Tower. I think it was on the eleventh floor. 

Yeon-woo forced down the anger that suddenly boiled inside him. He tried to observe the situation as calmly as possible. Why was that person looking for Brahm? Considering the mutual enmity between Brahm and the Elohim, it was clear that something big was happening.

Just as Yeon-woo decided to continue monitoring the situation, someone zipped out of the forest. Swish! A barrage of arrows flew at the players. Yeon-woo couldn’t see who it was until he checked with his Extrasensory Perception. His eyes widened. ‘Galliard?’

Previous Chapter Next Chapter